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THE late Dean of Lincoln was one of those whose 
lives seem especially to call for some record. That 
few men, certainly few men as uncompromising, 
have ever won more affection from their fellows, 
will be acknowledged by all who were present when 
he was laid to rest under the shadow of Lincoln 
Minster, and saw that vast building filled from end 
to end with mourners and sympathizers, the greater 
part of them being citizens of a city to which, less 
than nine years before, he had come as a total 
stranger. At the same time, few men who have 
done so much work in their lives have been less 
known by name to what is called " the general 
public." On both accounts therefore, that those 
who knew and loved him might have some per- 
manent memorial of him, and that the record of a 
strenuous life in which Englishmen even of widely 
different schools of thought cannot fail to find a 
stimulus, might be made known to many who never 
felt its direct influence, it was thought that a 
memoir of him might without presumption take 



its place beside those of other men who did good 
service in the generation that, is now passing away. 

A few words seem to be called for in explanation 
of the absence of any author's name from the title- 
page of this book. When it became apparent that 
abundant materials for it were forthcoming, several 
persons, among them some of our approved writers 
of clerical biography, were approached, in the hope 
of securing adequate literary treatment for a narra- 
tive which was felt to be not unworthy of a capable 
hand. For one reason however or another none of 
those before whom the proposal was laid found 
himself at liberty to undertake the task ; and it 
was resolved to try what could be done by the 
method of pretty wide co-operation. Various friends 
with whom in his life of many activities he had 
come in contact, responded most kindly to the 
suggestion that they should write down such re- 
collections of him as were most vivid in their 
minds ; and these, together with selections from 
his correspondence, were arranged, with just so 
much of connecting matter as was needed to give 
unity to the book, by a member of his family, 
aided by one of the Cathedral staff with whom he 
had been in constant intercourse. To the friends 
in question are due the warmest thanks of those 
by whom the memory of William Butler is most 
cherished. The greater part of them will be found 
named in connexion with their contributions ; but 
besides these the names of Rev. H. H. Woodward, 
O. H. Drew, Esq., Miss Alice Ottley, Mrs. Arthur 


Baker, and E. M. Hutton Riddell, Esq., may be 
mentioned. Thanks are also due to the representa- 
tives of Mr. Keble, Canon Liddon, Cardinal Manning, 
Bishop Wilberforce, and others, for permission to 
publish letters written by them. 

We are constantly being reminded in the inter- 
course of society that "the world is very round"; 
and the same holds true in a measure of the world 
of books. For illustration of the biography of a 
hard-working clergyman one would hardly look to 
a school of fiction based upon the negation of all 
which the clergyman morally and socially represents. 
Yet those who realize that Wantage is the 'Alfred- 
ston' of one of the most powerful, and repulsive, 
novels which the English branch of that school 
has produced, will find it interesting and instructive 
to contrast the novelist's more or less conjectural 
criticism of life in and about our smaller country- 
towns with the results actually produced on that 
life by constructive energy, informed and directed 
by faith, hope, and love. 

A. J. B. 



Birth and Parentage School Days Trinity College, Cambridge 
Letters to his Mother Failure of Johnston & Co. Preparation 
for Holy Orders - 1-20 


Influence of Rev. Charles Dyson Ordained Deacon and Priest- 
Incumbent of Wareside Correspondence with Rev. J. Keble 
Acceptance of Wantage - 21-45 


Setting to Work Letters Archdeacon Pott's Recollections 'Black 
Wantage ' Correspondence Work at Wantage Anxiety The 

Gorham Judgment Correspondence with Keble and - 

Extract from the "Parish Journal" Restoration of the Parish 
Church opposed - - 46-86 


The Parish Rural Dean Restoration of the Parish Church Rev. 
W. G. Sawyer's Recollections Canon Carter's Recollections 
Correspondence With Dr. Liddon Parish Records and Work 
Foreign Missions Preaching Parochial Visiting Extracts 
from the " Parish Journal " 87-126 


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WILLIAM JOHN BUTLER was born 10th February, 
1818, in Bryanston Street, Marylebone. the eldest 
child of John Laforey Butler and Henrietta his wife, 
daughter of Capt. Robert Patrick. His father was 
a partner in the mercantile house of Johnston & Co. 
in Bush Lane. His family originally came from 
Pembrokeshire. Mrs. Butler was of Irish descent, 
the Patricks having settled in the seventeenth 
century in the north of Ireland, in company with 
many other Scottish families, at the " Plantation of 
Ulster." Something must be said of the characters 
of Mr. and Mrs. Butler, to form some conception 
of the influences which surrounded William Butler's 
childhood. The father was a thoroughly upright, 
conscientious man, sensitive in disposition, extremely 
accurate and fastidious in language ; traits which 
were certainly inherited by the son. The mother's 
Irish blood brought with it the national character- 
istics of gaiety and open-heartedness, and a keen 
sense of humour. William Butler was baptized at 


2 EARLY YEARS 1818- 

Marylebone Church by the Rev. Basil Woodd, who 
presented him with Burkitt on the Neiv Testa- 
ment, in unconscious anticipation of his future 
clerical career. After him were born two sons 
Charles and Paul, twins ; and two daughters- 
Frances, who married Kirkman Daniel Hodgson, 
Esq., M.P., and Anna. 

There is little to tell about his childhood. It was 
passed at Southgate, in the parish of Edmonton, 
Middlesex, whither his parents moved from London. 
He is reported to have been " a fine child, and 
forward for his age," which is evident from his 
having read Beckmann's Inventions and Bingley's 
Animal Biography when only five or six years 
old ; "a thoroughly manly boy, and very tender- 
hearted," " never frivolous or indolent, always fond 
of study and literature ; quite without malice or 
unkind feelings towards anyone"; such is the testi- 
mony of his surviving brother and sister. 

He was brought up religiously in the school 
of old-fashioned, orthodox churchmanship, and one 
little incident of his childhood bears witness to it. 
During a thunderstorm, when he was between three 
and four years of age, he was heard to repeat the 
Collect, " Lighten our darkness." No one w r ho knew 
his fidelity through life to the Prayer Book will 
fail to appreciate this early manifestation of it. 

The village schoolmaster taught him till he was 
eight or nine ; he then went to a school kept by 
the Rev. Stephen Freeman at Forty Hill, in Enfield, 
a few miles from his home. No trace remains of 


his schooldays there except a letter to his grand- 
mother Mrs. Patrick, the joint composition of 
himself and his brothers, who were at school with 
him. From Enfield he went in 1830 to West- 
minster, where he was elected a Queen's Scholar. 

One of his few surviving schoolfellows has fur- 
nished some recollections of these early days. He 
writes as follows : 

We were together at Westminster for five years as Queen's 
Scholars, but until the fifth year we were not in the same 
Election. College consisted of four Elections, and the boys of 
the same Elections were associated as friends. If I had, in 
the usual course, left Westminster at the end of my fourth 
year of College, I should never have known Butler. For special 
reasons I was allowed to stay there a fifth year, and so be- 
came one of the same Election, and I then began to associate 
with him; but I had already a special friend in the same 
Election, and I did not seek to make a friend of Butler. 
My impression of him at that time was of a boy of more 
than average ability and acquired knowledge, but too evidently 
conscious of his acquirements, and disposed to boast of them, 
and very confident in his own opinion. Such a character and 
the fact of his having very short sight invited much mockery 
and teasing by his companions, so that my recollections of 
him at that time consist principally of absurd situations in 
which he placed himself through attempting things in which 
he failed, partly through defective sight, partly through natural 

Defective sight made him fail at cricket, football, and hockey ; 
but he learned to row, and when in 1836 a Westminster eight 
rowed against an Eton eight at Staines, he rowed No. 4, I 
rowing No. 8. Westminster was then a rough school, and I 
recollect some special examples among boys of the Elections 
above Butler's of low moral tone, but I have no recollection 
of his ever following bad example, or that he ever was other- 
wise than well conducted both in and out of school hours. 

In May 1836 he and I were elected scholars of Trinity 

4 EARLY YEARS 1818- 

College, Cambridge, and we did not meet from that month 
till the following October, when we began to keep terms at 
Trinity. The rough discipline he underwent at Westminster 
was perhaps wholesome for him. At Cambridge his opinion 
of his own acquirements and ability were seldom manifest. 
His friends were of the best of the Trinity undergraduates, 
e.g. Vaughan, now Dean of LlandafF, Hodson, now Vicar of 
Enfield, Mathison, Lawrence, Webb, Philip Freeman, Farrer, 
and, in his last year, George Kennedy of St. John's. At that 
time no one was allowed to try for classical honours who had 
not taken mathematical. Butler had no taste for mathematics, 
and wisely, I think, decided not to waste time in learning 
what he disliked, but to prepare for the ordinary B.A. degree. 
He read steadily the subjects necessary for that degree ; he 
also read higher Classics with Vaughan as a private tutor, 
and if he could have tried for Honours in Classics I believe 
he would have taken a high place. He also read Italian, 
French, and I think German, and History. He was a member 
of the Cambridge Camden Society, which implied some know- 
ledge of architecture; he attended Professor Smythe's lectures 
on the French Revolution, and Professor Sedgwick's lectures 
on Geology. He was a member of the Union and occasionally 
took part in the debates. 

Butler was in lodgings during his first year; then, until he 
left Cambridge, he had the rooms in the upper story of the 
gateway tower leading from the great Court into Trinity Lane, 
known as the Queen's Gate. M. T. Fairer, also a Westminster 
scholar, had the lower story. 

When we went to Trinity in October, 1836, the Third 
Trinity (Eton and Westminster) Boat Club, which had once 
been head of the river, was very low, I think tenth, and we 
were persuaded to join in recovering its place. When we left 
it was second, and for some time Butler regularly took part 
in the practice and races ; but after the first year he found 
it interfered with reading, and he ceased to row with the first 
crew. He was never a first-rate oar, but could always be 
depended on to do his best. 

In January 1840 we took our B.A. degree ; I then left 
Cambridge, and I believe that I did not see Butler again until 
1844, when we were there to take our M.A. degree. In that 


interval each had married, and each had nearly lost his wife 
in her first confinement, and for that reason we were more 
drawn together than ever before. At his invitation I went with 
my wife to stay a Sunday with him at a place near Amwell 
in Herts, where he had a Cure. We went to Amwell on the 
Saturday, and I remember being taken by him in the evening 
to help in the teaching of a men's night school, and I began 
to understand and appreciate his real character and the energy 
of his work. I did not visit him again until he was at 
Wantage. Of his work there and since he left Wantage there 
are many who can tell far better than I can, and I do not 
attempt to say anything of it. 

I feel that what I have written will help you little, if at 
all, to give any idea of Butler's life at Westminster and 
Cambridge ; I wish it were otherwise. Since I knew what 
he really was I have always regretted that I did not take 
more pains to know him when I had the opportunity at 

The Very Eeverend C. J. Vaughan, D.D., who 
was his most intimate friend during a good part 
of his Cambridge career, writes : 

It must ever be a pleasure to me to think of your father, 
so dear and kind a friend in the young life of Cambridge 
and Trinity days, and even in the later years of silence and 
separation not forgotten. 

I can still see him as he was in the long vacation of 1837, 
the time of our closest intimacy, full of health and spirits, 
always brave and true, not yet developed into the devotion 
of his maturer life, but already loved by good men like our 
dear common friend G-. E. L. Cotton, and already with many 
" shadows cast before " of what he was to be in due time. 

I have little to say that is worth saying. But this is 
because our life together was uneventful and our friendship 
without breach or jar. 

When we met forty or fifty years afterwards in Convocation, 
generally voting on opposite sides, the old alliance was still 
recognized both in speech and feeling on both sides. And 

6 EARLY YEARS 1818- 

when I last saw him (in the Charing Cross Hospital) he was 
the same cheery and joyful companion that I knew him of 
old, only ripened into the man of experience, the man of 
many toils and high attainments in the service of God and 

His friendship for the writer of these lines led 
on one occasion to an affair which seems to have 
made some stir in the University, and might, but 
for the intervention of some sensible advisers, have 
brought him into serious trouble. In the early part 
of 1839, Mr. Vaughan was standing for the office 
of President of the Union Society, and Butler 
naturally canvassed with energy for his friend. 
There was, however, a set, headed by some young 
men of good family belonging to St. John's, with 
whom Mr. Vaughan was personally unpopular. These 
put up an opposition candidate, and party feeling 
ran somewhat high. Butler, in common with a 
large number of members, had signed a requisition 
to the existing president, agreeably to the rules of 
the society, calling upon him to reconsider some 
decision, and this was lying in the reading-room for 
signature. S , one of the Johnians in question, 
and some of his set, chancing to see this, added to the 
list of names in a not uncommon vein of under- 
graduate wit those of certain race-horses. The 
matter attracted some notice. At a meeting on 
March 21st, Butler moved a resolution expressing the 
society's disapprobation of this conduct. A stormy 
debate resulted, in the course of which S - used 
some epithets that were thought to involve an 


allusion to private and personal matters. Failing 
to obtain from the president the protection which 
he thought due to him, Butler then moved that 
the house should form itself into a committee. 
This was carried, and the chair was taken by a 
fellow of Trinity, no less a person than the well- 
known scholar J. W. Donaldson. S - then observed 
that " seeing the name of the honourable mover 
among the signers of the requisition he had written 
down the names of the five other brutes." Cam- 
bridge men of a later generation will recognize the 
Unionic invective, as still employed occasionally by 
heated orators. However, this was a little too much, 

and S narrowly escaped expulsion on the spot, 

the feeling, it would appear, being almost unanimous 
against him. A demand for an apology only elicited, 
as it would seem, an insolent reply, and threats 
of personal violence were uttered by the aggrieved 
party. It was, however, represented by cooler- 
headed friends that the result of this might be 
serious for both sides. At that time duelling was 
not yet a tradition of the remote past, and the 
penalty for taking part in a duel, even if no worse 
consequences ensued, would inevitably be expulsion 
from the University. 

Ultimately the matter was put into the hands 
of three friends, Trinity men of good standing, two 
undergraduates and one B.A., the latter being the 
senior classic of the previous year, W. G. Humphry, 
in after years Vicar of St. Martin's in the Fields. 
These prudent counsellors, to whose judgement 

8 EARLY YEARS 1818- 

Butler absolutely submitted himself, decided, as 
indeed they could hardly have failed to do, " that 
it was only to the expression of public feeling that 
he could look for redress," and " that on the manner 
in which that feeling had been expressed by the 
Union Society and generally in the University, he 
had every reason to congratulate himself." 

About a week later, S , who had also in 

the meantime taken counsel with a friend, wrote 
acknowledging that the expressions used by him 
" were unbecoming and unjustifiable," and the matter 
seems to have blown over, though from a letter 
written to Butler by his mother nearly a month 
afterwards, it would seem that discords still sim- 
mered. Among other things she writes : 

I myself wish you had amongst you all, one clear-sighted 
old Nestor who might, from his own wisdom, put down the 
whole quarrel, which in a few years will be seen by the present 
young actors as quite a ridiculous business ; a Professor of 
Patience and Harmony being much needed there, I suspect. 

The old story, si jeunesse savait. 

Another letter written by Mrs. Butler to her son 
about this time contains some sound advice on the 
subject of bills. 

Your expenses are now becoming understood by yourself, 
and by a judicious arrangement you can get them into a nut- 
shell. Pray have as FEW bills as possible. Tradespeople are 
not always friendly to this, as amongst many a profit is obtained 
by the contrary practice. But it is so injurious to the honest 
feelings of a young person to be spending he knows not what 
of his income, and then temptations abound till the best 
principles are led to yield. Also the doctoring of bills, by which 


I mean, the making an account out; but from an idea that 
another can be subtracted from it, the endeavour to make 
all appear SMOOTH becomes a perpetual source of artifice and 
plotting which weighs down a mind, otherwise ingenuous, till 
it becomes callous, reckless, and hardened, and is at last com- 
pletely out of that strong firm path of integrity for which no 
human pleasure can compensate. 


CAMBRIDGE, March 30, 1838. 

I have just passed that dreadful and difficult ordeal yclept 
by the Dons " the previous examination," and by the Under- 
graduates "Little-go." I went in on Tuesday, the second day 
of examination, in a most wholesome state of alarm, for it is 
a peculiarity attached to this examination that every one, 
from the best even unto the worst men in the year, are 
frightened by the prospect of this. Paley's Evidences is the 
great bugbear to most, but some unfortunate mathematical 
men, who have never been at public schools, get plucked in 
the Classics. However, my horror was greatly abated in the 
course of an hour, and on finding I could floor eight out of 
nine questions in Paley, it was changed to mirth. Well, in 
the evening at nine o'clock my fate was decided, and I was 
written down as " examined and approved," with sundry others ; 
forty went in on my day, and of these fourteen were plucked. 
. . . A friend of mine goes in to-morrow; I have been 
coaching him, as the technical expression is, for the last fort- 
night. . . . To-morrow, Sedgwick, the geological professor, 
gives a field-lecture, i.e. a cross-country expedition on horse- 
back, stopping at the various places worthy of his attention. 
These he previously specifies, and I am going to walk with a 
friend of mine and cut off corners, etc., and get to the different 
points where he lectures, and so get what good we can. He 
winds up at Ely. . . . Vaughan has just been bracketed 
equal with Lord Lyttelton for the Chancellor's Medals, a prize 
given to Classics. He was also put equal with him in the 
Classical Tripos Examination, so that the two are as equal as 
possible. Vaughan beat him two years ago for the University 
Scholarship, and last year when Vaughan was hors de combat 

io EARLY YEARS 1818- 

Lyttelton got the Scholarship. This year Freeman of Trinity 
and Williams of King's got the two Scholarships. . . . Have 
any of you read Carlyle's History of the French Revolution 1 It 
is written in quite a new style, and, as far as I can judge, an 
exceedingly powerful one. I long to be able to read it satis- 
factorily through when I get home, for I have no time here. 

In the summer he was at the Lakes with a reading 
party during the Long Vacation. Some brief extracts 
from his journal contain his impressions of some 
Oxford contemporaries. 

Ambleside, July 11. Wednesday and rainy. Faber an 
Oxford Catholic and friend of Freeman came with two pupils. 
He teaed with us. Sufficiently conceited and donnish. 

Friday. Faber & Co. dined with us including Whytehead. 
The mannerism of these people is intolerable. 

Saturday. To my great joy the Balstons came, as it will 
perhaps relieve us from that eternal Faber & Co. 

Balstons, Champernowne, Froude, Freeman, and I set forth 
to climb Fairfield. 

Sunday, August 5. We Avalked to Troutbeck, a little village 
four miles off, to hear Arnold preach. He preached very well 
indeed. The church was most primitive, only one pew, and 
most extraordinary altar decorations. The real clergyman, 
Arnold told us, spoke in the regular Westmoreland dialect. 
The walk was most beautiful, and showed the mountains to 
perfection, Sea wf ell, Langdale Pikes, and the arch [?] of 
Mickledoor, to which Arnold compared the Greek /^eyaA?? dvpa, 
as being exactly the same in sound. 

On this tour he is said to have taken a black-letter 
Chaucer for his private reading. Mr. Freeman took 
the Christian Year. Before long they exchanged 
books, and he expresses his admiration for the 
Christian Year in verses, which are given more to 
show his appreciation of its character than for any 


peculiar excellence of their own. He had indeed 
what Wordsworth calls the " Faculty of verse," and 
wrote it till the last year of his life, but he never 
considered himself in any sense of the term a poet. 


Here are no strains of maniac devotee 

Blighting soft mercy with their uncouth lay, 

Nor here the songs of Pagan revelry 

Unhallowed, darkening the pure Gospel day ; 

But here the gentle streams of Heaven glide 

Rippling through caves of crystal, where the air 

Is soft and pleasant, and the woodland's pride 
Of song is echoed from each distant lair. 

Roses not thorns surround their path of love 

While through their variegated banks they rove, 
Slaking the thirst of all who hither haste 
With ardent souls, the glittering springs to taste, 

And ebbing now, now flowing, glancing bright 

Where all before appeared but gloomy night. 

Although a smoker in his College days, he entirely 
gave up the use of tobacco after he was ordained. 
The following verses amusingly recall his old attach- 

^7 / 

ment to the habit for which in later days he 
expressed antipathy. 


Gently was the night breeze blowing, 

Tranquil light the fair moon gave, 
Sleep o'er mortals' breasts was flowing, 

All was silent as the grave, 
Save my footsteps' echoed traces, 

As through cloistered shades I walked, 
Thinking now of lovely faces, 

Pleasures past, or pleasures baulked. 

12 EARLY YEARS 1818- 

Sweet, though tinged with sacred sorrow, 

All my recollections were, 
And I hoped the coming morrow, 

Like the past, would be as fair. 
Puffing at my mild Havannah, 

Slow and grave I Avandered on, 
As on bank of Guadiana 

Stalks the solemn Spanish Don. 
But a Cambridge Don drew nigher 

Filled with Euclid, filled with spleen, 
When he saw the gleaming fire 

Anger turned his visage green. 
" Sir," he cried, " what means this horrid 

Stench, what means this loose array, 
Men come here to store their forehead, 

Not to blow their wits away." 

A tragic event which occurred while William 
Butler was at Trinity is thus described by him in 
a letter to his mother. 

I must now tell you the most distressing thing I ever heard. 

Poor F was drowned on Sunday morning at half-past 

one o'clock, under the most fearful circumstances. I knew 
him very well, and was to have breakfasted with him that 
very morning. I am so much shocked that it will be quite 
a relief to tell you the whole case. I had sculled to and from 
Ely with Arthur Shadwell and a Trinity man named Welby. 
On our return we went to Welby's rooms for some food, and 

while we were there in came F . He sat down and joined 

us, and stayed there till near one o'clock, talking and laughing. 
We were, as usual, quizzing him, etc. Another man named 

B came in and said he was hungry. F , the most 

good-natured fellow alive, said that he had provided food for 

his breakfast party next day, and B might have some 

then if he liked. But B [said] this would not be fair and 

asked him to get some audit ale he (F ) had. F went 

for the ale, the party broke up, and B thought no more 

of it, but went to bed. In a short time F came to his 


rooms with the ale, but finding him in bed wished him good- 
night, and returned for his own rooms, which are in the 
Great Court, on the Chapel side. But going through the 

screens, he met a tipsy man named H standing there with 

some others. F said, We ought to go out of College to- 
night; H- agreed, hardly knowing what he said, and F 

being the most experienced, offered to show them the way. 
Now the way out of College is round the extremity of a wall 
which abuts on the river, at the back of the library. This 
wall it was necessary to stride round from one parapet to the 

other. F got round safely enough, but H , being very 

tipsy, missing his footing tumbled in. The water was up to 

his waist, but he was very much frightened. F , who was 

a capital swimmer, called out, Can you swim ? No, said H . 

So F took off his coat and hat, and walked down the steps 

into the water to help him out. He got hold of him, and went 
back with him towards the steps, but, owing to the darkness 
probably, could not find them. He was heard to say, "Never 
mind, I will take you across." He was seen to go across with 

H for a little way, and suddenly both disappeared. There 

was another man there named H 1, who had merely joined 

them to see the climb round the wall. He rushed away for 

help, and on returning they found H clinging to the ivy 

on the wall, and saw nothing of F . Knowing that he 

was a good swimmer, they supposed he had swam across and 
gone away for fear of being caught, and gave themselves little 

trouble about him. H was far too flurried with wine 

and horror to know anything about him, nor even how he 
himself got to the wall. They let down a drag to him, and 
pulled him [up] when he had been about twenty minutes in 
the water. Ferguson met them in the cloisters as they were 
carrying him up, and one of them said that they were not 

quite sure about F , but hardly supposing that anything 

could have happened. Ferguson said that there should be 
no doubt on such a question, and immediately climbed over 

the walls to the Johnian Bridge to see for tidings of F . 

In the meantime others came ; they got a boat and a drag, 
yet hardly believing any mischief, and after dragging for nearly 
three hours, struck on his body. It was carried into College 
at five o'clock yesterday morning. Of course he was quite 

14 EARLY YEARS 1818- 

dead. You may imagine the sensation which so appalling an 
event would cause. An inquest sat yesterday, and brought 
in a verdict of "drowned while endeavouring to rescue Mr. 

H ." There can be no doubt that going in as he did, flushed 

and heated, after eating and drinking heartily, and feet fore- 
most, brought on a sudden fit of apoplexy. The affair is 
rendered more distressing by the fact that his brother was 
burnt to death at school about a year and a half ago. 

Mrs. Butler was a thoroughly religious-minded 
woman, and her letters show it. In one she speaks 
in terms of high approval of Newman's sermons ; 
but in another, dated 30th November, 1838, she 
gently reproves her son for neglecting to attend 
the funeral of the veteran leader of the Evangelical 
party at Cambridge. 

I received your letter, and had great pleasure in so doing, 
perceiving the cheerful strain in which it was written; but 
before I proceed to one topic, in which I know you will 
sympathize with me, two or three remarks I Avill previously 
make upon your's. I should have felt better pleased had 
you on the day of Mr. Simeon's funeral made the attendance 
upon it instead of your water excursion. 

She then proceeds to give a graphic account of 
a fire which had broken out in the house between 
one and two in the morning. The whole family 
had had a narrow escape of being burnt to death, 
and probably would have been had not Mrs. Butler 
been awakened by the smoke, and given the alarm. 
Touches that now look quaint enough are the 
allusions to the efficiency of the " New Police," 
Sir Robert Peel's recent invention, and, a small 
domestic tragedy, "the parrot burnt to a cinder." 


She concludes, " All little matters now appear indeed 
useless, after so great a crisis, to dwell upon. To 
you I repeat, my dear boy, be steady, seek not 
company for company's sake ; a character of another 
kind I pray may be your's for the sake of many 
whose happiness is bound up with your's. Economy 
also, and not those vain amusements which end in 

In 1839 he won the Trinity College Essay Prize. 
The subject was " The Colonial Policy of the 
Ancients." A complimentary notice in a Cambridge 
paper describes it as manifesting " ability, learning, 
and research." His mother, writing from Southgate, 
23rd March, says, " I am glad we are so soon to 
enjoy a re-perusal of your essay, which for so deep 
a production of Greek and Latin quotations is as 
little dry as possible." 

Some excellent advice as to the necessity of 
keeping accounts follows, and one sentence recalls 
a characteristic trait which distinguished him through 
life : " You are not extravagant, quite, I should say, 
the reverse, but from a born indolence averse to 
the routine of Bookkeeping." 

He took his B.A. degree in January 1840. 


CAMBRIDGE, February 12, 1840. 

I got another present from Freeman. It was the large 
edition of the Christian Year, handsomely bound in morocco. 
I liked it particularly from him, because he first opened my 
eyes to its surpassing beauties. I write this letter while waiting 

16 EARLY YEARS 1818- 

for my lazy pupil, I wish I could say pupils. This is the 
second lesson he has skipped, and I am sure I read more for 
him than he does for himself. ... I just returned to 
Cambridge in time to see Cotton, who departed for Rugby 
the next day. I have agreed to pay him a visit at Easter. 
... I am attending Professor Scholefield's Lectures in 
Thucydides, and preparing for these together with coaching 
my pupil, and preparing for it, pretty nearly occupies all my 
time. . . . The Classical examination is going on, and I 

instruct D as much as I can, but I fear that he is not 

likely to do very well. Alfred Shadwell has done better 
than I expected. Kennedy is one of the examiners, and I 
am to read the papers to him this evening, while he marks 
the faults. 

The last remark implies a curiously slack method, 
as it would now appear, of performing an examiner's 


CAMBRIDGE, February 24, 1840. 

I have been assisting Kennedy to examine the papers of the 
candidates for the Classical Honours. Drew, Shadwell, and 
many of my friends are among them, and I feel sometimes sorely 
tempted to cheat ! I have also been correcting the proof sheets 
of my essay, which will be out in a very few days, as soon as I 
can get hold of Kennedy to look over it, and correct any errors 
which may have crept in by negligence of the author, for when 
printed it is of course irrevocable. I am looking out for a pupil 
to go abroad with this summer, for I think that that would be 
an agreeable arrangement for every one, both at home and at 
Cambridge. I should like some one to prepare for Cambridge. 
Last week I dined out every day. Never were such doings 
with Kennedy, Lawrence, White, and others, and in King's 
Hall with the Fellows. ... I think that Mr. Quin is a 
great humbug. I recommend you not to argue with him, but 
ask him, if the Roman Church be in reality the same as the 
Anglican, why he goes to a Dissenting Chapel instead of the 
Parish Church. I have no patience with such sophistry. 


In July he started with a pupil for a continental 
tour. They went from Southampton to Havre ; then 
to Paris, where they stayed till the 17th, and then 
visited Berne, Lausanne, and Geneva, passing on by 
Turin and Genoa to Florence and Rome, and seeing 
Ravenna on the way to Venice. He kept a journal 
during the tour, which is a good sample of the 
thoroughgoing industry he put into all his work. 
Public buildings, churches, and pictures he never 
allowed to escape his eye. At Lake Leman, after 
saying that one end of the lake is rendered classical 
by Chillon, St. Gingo, and Vevey, he adds in a note, 
" I never met with this saint except here and in 
the Vicar of Wakefield, ' by the living Jingo,' 
which oath evil disposed people have tried to 
explain away ! " 

The journal ends abruptly at Venice, September 

The year 1840 was destined to end in gloom, 
and a crisis took place which materially affected 
his prospects. Hitherto he had known no pecuniary 
cares. His father was a partner in a flourishing 
mercantile house, and although he was precise and 
careful in money arrangements with his sons, he does 
not seem to have stinted them. Suddenly, without 
any preliminary warning, it was discovered that a 
very large sum of money had been misappropriated, 
quite sufficient to put the credit of Johnston & Co. 
in jeopardy, if not to ruin them. Mrs. Butler had 
the unpleasant task of breaking this bad news to 
her son in a letter dated 5th November, 1840. After 

i8 EARLY YEARS 1818- 

a few lines on domestic matters she introduces the 
painful subject as, "the trial which I am now 
wishing to break to you, the all but total ruin of 
Bush Lane." 

Having now broken the ice, I will enter more into detail, 
begging you, darling son, to remember that no fault or error 
attaches to your beloved father, who bears his share of the 
calamity with calm and manly fortitude, feeling and relying 
upon the affection of his dearest Will, Paul, and Charles, all 
now approaching the age when their influence over his mind 
and prospects can be felt. 

No time was lost by her son on the receipt of 
this bad news, in devising means by which he 
might maintain himself, and so relieve his parents 
of any outlay on his behalf. Till the fortunes of 
the family began to recover he supported himself 
by taking pupils, and he prepared to take Holy 
Orders as soon as possible. 



As this is the fourth letter I have been writing this morning, 
you must not expect it to be very long. I was very much 
obliged for your long letter, which gave me a very good idea of 
the state of things, and which I have duly forwarded to Paul. 

I think Mr. J 's a very timely offer. I had a most kind 

letter from Mr. G , who says that he is proud to be 

called the friend of such a man as my father. He also sent 
me an enormous brace of birds, and I took the opportunity 
to send these to Aunt with a letter, which brought me back 
next day a most kind reply. I will enclose it for you, as I 
think it may show you that her zeal has not, as you feared 
it might, tired itself out. I have got two whole pupils for 
the Christmas vacation, which puts 20 into my pocket. I 


am sadly afraid I shall not be able to visit you at all pleasantly 
till after the 14th of next month, so that you must not expect 
me on Christmas day, though if it seem at all feasible or 
judicious, I certainly will be at Southgate. After that time 
I shall be free from pupils for a week or so, and my mind 
will be more unoccupied. At present I am as busy as a 
bee. I had an offer of a perpetual curacy of .70 a year at 
Halifax, but I think that this will not be worth my while, 
without the certainty of two or three pupils at 200 a-piece, 
and Halifax is so disagreeable a town, that I should not get 
them. The only spoke in the wheel for a Chaplaincy l is 
that to be eligible it is necessary to be in orders, so that I 
am exerting all my powers to get a title in or near Cambridge, 
or a Sunday duty within reach, and I have written to Mr. 
Gwilt on the subject. Mr. Barnett's is a most delightful 
letter. I have not had so much pleasure for a long time as 

in reading it. ... I think that Mr. acts like a fool. 

It is very easy for a man to be thought an oracle, when he 
has plenty of money to enforce his opinions. I must now 
return to Bullinger and Transubstantiation, and with love to 
my dear father, Fanny, Anna, and Charley, I am, dearest 
mamma, ever your affectionate son, 


His father wrote to him at the end of the year. 

December 30, 1840. 

MY DEAREST WILL, I have had so many events to meet 
of late that I have had hardly courage to sit down and write 
to you, nor can I do so now at length ; but I cannot help 
now telling you how much I have felt the tender love and 
affection which you have shown me under the circumstances 
in which I have been placed, and what a blessing it has been 
to us all to be allied to one who fills in so exemplary a 
manner every duty of life. I leave to your dear mother 
and sisters the detail of passing events. My chief object in 
writing is to request you to address a letter to Messrs. H. 
& I. Johnston & Co., authorising them to pay over to me 

1 Of the College. (?) 

20 EARLY YEARS 1818- 

the sum of 500 deposited in your name with the late firm 
of Johnston, Butler, & Son, by Charles Shadwell ; the meaning 
of this I will explain more fully hereafter. ... I am to 
have a third instead of a half of the profits, which is as 
much as I could reasonably expect considering the large sum 
which I am unable to pay of my share of losses, and I can 
only expect a very small income for some time to come ; 
still it is better than being cast on the world to struggle for 
a subsistence. My health has kept up better than I could 
have expected. 

The fortunes of the house of Johnston & Co. 
revived under Mr. Butler's able management, and 
with the assistance of friends, who had the fullest 
confidence in his integrity and ability, he succeeded 
in placing it on the road to a higher level of pros- 
perity than before. 



IN view of his approaching ordination, as we have 
already seen, William Butler had begun to seek 
for a title for Holy Orders. Through a cousin he 
obtained an introduction to the Rev. Charles 
Dyson, Rector of Dogmersfield in Hampshire. Mr. 
Dyson was a man of great learning and ability ; 
he had been a Scholar of Corpus, where he became 
the intimate friend of John Keble, Arnold, and 
J. T. Coleridge. Dean Stanley in his life of Dr. 
Arnold, says of Charles Dyson that his " remarkable 
love for historical and geographical research, and 
his proficiency in it, with his clear judgement, 
quiet humour, and mildness in communicating infor- 
mation made him particularly attractive to Arnold." 
But his religious views were those of Keble and 
Newman, and he was a firm though quiet sup- 
porter of the " Oxford Movement." At the age of 
twenty-four he became Rawlinsonian Professor of 
Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford, but he 
relinquished this post in 1816 when he took orders, 


and after holding livings in Yorkshire and Essex, 
he was presented to Dogmersfield in 1836, and 
there remained till his death in 1860. " He was 
an admirable parish priest, and a man of deep 
learning, though he shrank from authorship." 1 There 
can be no doubt that he exercised a great influence 
over William Butler's mind, and that to his example 
and instruction much of his curate's successful work 
was due. 


DOGMERSFIELD, February 9, 1841, 

DEAR SIR, You will naturally have expected some com- 
munication before this, touching the curacy of Dogmersfield ; 
but owing to my total inability to do anything personally 
during this unfortunate weather, we have had more difficulties 
about houses, etc., than I anticipated; and it was indeed only 
on Sunday afternoon that Mr. Lefroy (my present curate) 
gave me any information that we could act upon : yesterday, 
I am sorry to say, was one of my drooping days. 

First, respecting the time of entering upon the curacy. I 
wrote to the bishop the day after you left us, to enquire 
whether he could grant letters dimissory in case his own 
ordination was too late. His answer was that his ordination 
would not take place before July, and that he never gave 
letters dimissory unless under particular circumstances, which 
did not apply to your case. Mr. Lefroy, however, kindly 
undertook to sound him again at an interview he was to have 
with him about other matters. This interview he had on 
Saturday last. The bishop was still firm in his refusal about 
letters dimissory ; but good-naturedly said he would provide 
for the Sunday duty during Mr. Lefroy 's absence in May. 
I believe we shall have no difficulty about the duty till the 
time of ordination in July. For in May I trust to be equal 
to the parochial charge myself. 

1 Diet. Nat. Biog. " C. Dyson." 


Secondly, as to houses, we have had more delays about them 
than was expected. . . . Word was sent me on Saturday 
that we could have one at Odiham, which might do for pupils : 
and on Sunday Mr. Lefroy brought me information that he 
had found one at Crondall (the village where his family live) 
which he thought would suit you completely, at a rent of 
24. This of all the houses that have been mentioned to 
us seems most desirable, as being nearest to the church and 
village ; distant two miles and two miles and a half respectively. 
You have now all the information I can give you at present, 
and all indeed that is immediately necessary to your decision 
about your plans. I think, however, I should treat neither 
you nor my parish fairly if I did not set before you for 
very serious consideration a doubt that has suggested itself 
to my own thoughts, and, as I find in conversation, to the 
thoughts of others ; it is this. Whether under the circum- 
stances of your just entering so responsible a profession, with 
so slight a preparation for its demands and duties as you 
candidly acknowledged when here, it would be advisable to 
encumber yourself with pupils for the first year or two, during 
your professional engagements. I believe I speak the sentiments 
of experienced men, when I suggest that you will find it 
difficult to combine the management of pupils even with 
professional reading; a difficulty that will be much enhanced 
if joined with the care of a parish, however small, at a distance. 
For though I trust that during the summer months I shall 
be able to help you much, both in parochial and Sunday 
duties, I fear I cannot promise great assistance in the pulpit, 
that being the difficult matter to my weak lungs. In winter, 
I must if I follow the advice of my physician, leave the 
parish entirely to your charge, in all points at least that 
require personal attendance. If you would take this suggestion 
into your serious consideration, and decide accordingly to begin 
without pupils, you will find it less difficult to suit yourself 
with a residence, and what is more to be valued, more able 
to give up your time to your profession. Then after some 
experience of its demands, you will be better able to judge 
of its compatibility with the care of pupils. There is always 
much to learn in the entrance of any profession, and I do 
not know that this ought to be considered less exacting than 


any other, where there is so much to be done, so much to 
be accounted for. There may be circumstances of another 
kind, however, that require you to decide otherwise; and it 
would be an intrusion on my part to enter on any considera- 
tion about them. 1 

As a good deal of time has necessarily been disposed of in 
our enquiries and difficulties here, it would be a convenience 
to me if you could come to an early decision and communicate 
it to me. If you decide to give me your assistance, such 
decision will enable me to be useful on many interesting 
points. If you decide against it, it will enable me to look 
to other quarters for help. In either case the sooner the 

Butler wrote to a relation in January 1841 : 

. . . For the last two or three weeks my thoughts have 
been mainly employed on the subject of Holy Orders, and the 
deep and fearful responsibility therewith connected. Most 
truly do I feel my own incorn potency, though most desirous 
and willing to do my duty, and the great advantage of be- 
ginning my labours under the tuition of Mr. Dyson. But 
as I am entirely at present dependent upon myself, and as 
I cannot say when those whom I love far more dearly than 
myself may to a certain extent be also dependent upon me, 
and also as it would be a sorry return for Mr. Dyson's 
kindness to saddle his parish with a pauper curate, I was 
anxious, before I gave a definite answer, to make myself sure 
in the matter of pupils. ... I am almost certain of having 
two pupils, though if I have but one, I will not hesitate to 
accept so agreeable a situation. 

He was ordained Deacon at the ensuing July 
ordination, and took a house in the neighbouring 
parish of Crondall. 

While here he became acquainted through the 

1 The straitened means of the Butler family were found to make 
the taking of pupils a necessity, and in the long run this did not 
interfere with his parochial duties. 


Dysons with several of their friends who had taken 
part in the Oxford Movement, such as John Keble, 
H. E. Manning, Henry Wilberforce, and Charles 
Marriott. There can be no doubt that this had a 
powerful effect in determining the character of his 
religious convictions, and under Mr. Dyson he formed 
a very high conception of a clergyman's duties and 
the responsibility of his office. 

A letter from one of his sisters describes his 
ordination as Priest at Farnham Castle. 

CRONDALL, July 11, 1842. 

We left this at a little after nine yesterday morning. The 
morning was bright and beautiful, but none of us talked much, 
as we were thinking of solemn things. . . . About half to 
eleven we set off for the Castle. It was an odd sight to see 
troops of men in gowns and hoods winding up the steep hill. 
(One deacon was lame.) When we got up the hill a laughable 
sight presented itself. The deacon out of the trap putting on 
his gown and hood under the hedge, like a professional hedge- 
preacher. The simple vestry work over, we four clomb the 
hill, the deacon following looking very grave. Then we 
marched through a long room, deacons and priests on either 
side in gowns and hoods, some M.A., some B.A., to the 
drawing room. There we (ladies) sat down and then Mr. 
Jacob came flitting about to arrange the candidates for or- 
dination. ... At eleven precisely the people were all settled 
in their places. I saw very well where I was placed. Mr. 

(who apes the bishop) read the morning service. Then 

Dr. Dealtry " praught " a long sermon with little meaning 

in it, but looked triumphant at intervals. . . . We 

had luncheon at the Castle, and then returned to Miss Barlow's, 
being too tired body and mind to go to afternoon service. 
They were most kind to us, and made us stay and dine with 
them ; at half-past six we went to evening service at Farnham 
church, and on our return we found William returned from 
the Castle. 


In the course of this year he became engaged 
to his second cousin, Miss Emma Barnett, daughter 
of George Henry Barnett, Esq., head of the banking 
firm of Barnett, Hoare & Co. Mrs. Barnett was 
the daughter of Stratford Canning, and sister of 
Lord Stratford de Kedcliffe, and of William Canning, 
Canon of Windsor, who afterwards presented his 
niece's husband to the living of Wantage. To make 
the connexion more intelligible it may be said 
that William Butler's maternal grandfather, Capt. 
Kobert Patrick, was brother of Miss Barnett's 
maternal grandmother, Mrs. Stratford Canning. 

His old friend C. J. Vaughan wrote on hearing 
of his approaching marriage : 

May 16, 1843. 

Do not be angry with me for offering you my heartiest 
congratulations on the prospect of your marriage, which I 
believe will be a real blessing to you, so far from thinking 
the contrary. And pray do not be above marrying with 
pupils. I am sure my brother is as happy as a man can 
be, though he takes pupils. 

Shortly before his marriage he moved from 
Dogmersfield to the curacy of Puttenham, near 
Guildford, where he had the sole charge of the 
parish, and continued to take pupils. On the 29th 

July, 1843, his marriage took place at Putney, 1 

1 The newly married couple visited Hursley on their way to 
France. Mr. Keble wrote to his brother, Rev. T. Keble : 

H. V., Aug. 1, 1843. 

. . . We are here quite in the bridal line. . . . Behold at church 
were Mr. Butler, Dyson's late curate, and his bride, Miss Emma 




where his eldest son, Arthur John, was born the 
following year. 

In 1844 he was appointed as first incumbent 
of the newly formed parish of Wareside which had 
been previously part of the extensive parish of 
Ware. Through the exertions of a former vicar 
of Ware, the Rev. H. Coddington, a chapel 
dedicated to the Holy Trinity had been built at 
a cost of 1,800, to accommodate 400 people. The 
population was about 700. As there was no glebe 
house, William Butler took a house in the adjoining 
parish of Amwell. Some extracts from his private 
diary will give an idea of his life at Wareside, and 
of the spirit in which he devoted all his powers 
of mind and body to his parishioners' welfare, at 
the very outset of his life as a parish priest. 

Things in my parish have now got into some train. Our 
schools are working. The people seem to feel that they have 
a minister and church. Our Clothing Club numbers 140. 
We have visited every parishioner, and on the whole there 
seems a fair spirit of obedience to the Church, and desire to 
be taught and act. My great difficulty is, of course, the lack 
of a dwelling on the spot, which, although I do not dislike 
the drive there and back, yet cannot but put me in a great 
degree in the footing of a stranger to those among whom I 
ought to be most familiar. 

. . . This is the 1st [sic] Sunday after Christmas Day, 
the continuation, as it were, of the Feast of Circumcision. Of 
course, I felt myself bound to preach as well as I could, in 
allusion to that feast, but then came the difficulty. Here am 

Barnett that was, who did us the honour of including us in their 
wedding tour ; so I shewed them round the parish, and very nice 
folk they be or seem to be. 


I in a parish of which, I am sure, nine-tenths understand not 
a single word of the event in question, intricate too to explain, 
embarrassed with allusions to the Jewish Law, of which, 
perhaps, all were ignorant. Yet it is impossible to pass these 
things, these great feasts, carelessly over; it is really too much 
for the conscience to be talking of irrelevant matters when 
these great acts of our redemption are concerned. The people 
here seem hardly to feel Christmas Day. I observed that they 
wore their working-day clothes, and a very scanty attendance 
at church in proportion to that on Sundays. This seems 
to be the case very generally throughout the country. The 
people have utterly lost sight of the great Christian feasts, 
and with them the knowledge of the mighty events they 
celebrated. The Popish ways may be all very bad, but at 
least they teach something of the grounds of our faith 
and salvation. The religion of the English peasant is all 
confined to generalities. It consists pretty nearly in this : 
A general notion that Christ died for sinners, but of Christi 
His Nature or Person, absolutely nothing, nor how He died, 
nor for what kind of sinners ; that it is all right to go to 
church on Sundays, perhaps better twice ; that we are all 
sinners, none better than his neighbours, but as to any con- 
fession of particular sin it irritates them to be exhorted to it; 
utterly no notion of self-denial for almsgiving, no notion of 
earnest hearty prayer, nor of giving the attention, and striving 
to make out and practise the preacher's words. I do not 
mean to say that this, even this, is the worst temper of mind 
with which a minister can have to deal, or even that all are 
of it, but that, this being the case, it becomes particularly 
hard to teach. You can never, or very hardly, find any 
foundation to rest on. If you talk of the Jewish Church, 
they really associate no ideas with it ; of the Apostles, I doubt 
whether they know in the least who they are; of Jacob, 
Isaac, Abraham, they are equally ignorant. They do, perhaps, 
know who Adam and Eve were, and why they were driven 
from Paradise ; also of the Flood, but all the rest of the Old 
Testament is absolutely a dead letter to them. They hardly 
hear, certainly do not understand, one out of twenty lessons. 
In fact, it seems as if our Protestant mode of reading huge 
masses of Scripture were utterly defeating its own aim. The 

1846 PROBLEMS 29 

poor do not for the most part know the Bible. Ask any one 
what the lessons were about, any Sunday you please, and you 
will soon find the truth of my words. So this morning I had 
to explain as well as I could, though I feel most imperfectly 
the whole matter. I began a sermon last night, but was so 
dissatisfied with it that I threw it bodily into the fire at past 
eight o'clock. It seemed so unlike what a sermon should be 
to be giving a bald account of the Institution of the Law ; 
going from Adam through the whole of the Bible in twelve or 
fourteen pages seemed really too absurd. As it was, I con- 
tracted my account very much, merely stating that the 
Circumcision was the initiatory rite to the Jewish Law, 
which Law, I said, was given to the Jews to keep them 
from the heathen and to point to the Messiah. The Messiah 
(now I am sure they did not understand this) destroyed this 
Law in fulfilling it, and thereby left us an example of obedi- 
ence, as well as by the course of doing so working out our 
salvation. This was the tenor of my sermon. The men's 
side, as usual, was full, but I cannot get the women to attend 
church in the morning. Twenty women is an average. They 
naturally stay at home to cook their husbands' dinners, or 
fancy that they do. The most of these who do come have 
husbands, who, I suppose, want their dinners as much as the 

The present incumbent, the Eev. Robert Higgens, 
has noted down some " recollections " gleaned from 
old Wareside parishioners. 

The last entry by Mr. Butler in the Kegister of Baptisms is 
November 10, 1846. 

Walter Tween, the churchwarden, to whom Butler's " Sermons 
for Working Men " are dedicated, removed from the New House, 
Wareside, after the death of his father, soon after Mr. Butler left. 
He has ever since resided at Widford. Walter Tween, now 
upwards of eighty years of age, ever speaks of Mr. Butler in 
enthusiastic and affectionate terms. The other day, since the 
death of the Dean and Mrs. Butler, I paid Walter Tween a visit. 
Personal recollections came up at hazard, as, " I went on a visit 
to Mr. Butler at Wantage. The next day was a general fast 


day. 'Now, Walter, you will have nothing but bread and salt 
to-morrow. I don't call it a fast to have salt fish and sauce, 
and then other things as well.' So nothing but bread and salt 
we had, but they did not seem to mind it." 

When the Dean visited me on the occasion of our Church 
Jubilee in 1891, he went to see Walter Tween. Walter told 
me how he seemed to be just the Mr. Butler of old times. 

All the old people remember Mrs. Butler as actively sharing 
in her husband's labours. The old women say she was such a 
plain lady, not, however, at all referring to her features, or to 
plainness or directness of talk, but to the simplicity of her 
attire, silently rebuking feminine vanity. On my coming here 
as incumbent in 1855, I found a godson of Mrs. Butler's 
characteristically named "Alban" Blake. The names of most 
of the god-parents were set down in the baptismal register. 

We had orders annually to provide a suit of clothes for Alban 
up to his confirmation time. 

Of those who looked forward with great interest to the Dean's 
visit at the Church Jubilee in 1891, none was so eager as Charles 

K . He had been, as a young man, scholar in the night school 

when Mr. Butler lived at Castlebury, in the latter part of his 
time. Charles seemed as though he could not enough testify 
his satisfaction when he saw his old clergyman again. The Dean 
well remembered him. A particular spelling lesson lingered in 
his memory : " Now, Charles, a, x, e, what does that spell ? " 
" Surely," says Charles to himself, " I do not know justly, but 
it must be some tool that I use ; a, x, e bill ! " 

Then we have, living now in her 90th year, the original 

caretaker and factotum of the church, Mrs. S . She held office 

from 1841 to 1882 a woman not without her good qualities, 
being honest and trustworthy, but somewhat tart in speech. 
She remembers how Mr. Butler would come down from Castle- 
bury, for very early service, with his lantern, lighting along the 
little flock he had gathered on the way. 

The beginning of a correspondence with Mr. Keble 
dates from this period. 



HUESLEY VICARAGE, July 28, 1845. 

MY DEAR MR. BUTLER, I return you Mr. 's letters, and 

also the queries of the pseudo Catholic, for both which, specimens 
of very different sorts, I am much obliged. As to the querist, 
I felt a strong inclination to help him to one question more 
against the next edition : viz. (see queries 7 and 1 4), " Do you 
not perceive what a security liberal principles are against ill 
tempers, since those who hold them may use words which sound 
like sneering (e.g. Mr. Deacon Palmer's polemics), of course 
without any 'sourness' at all." 

I sent the other papers to Pusey as you kindly permitted me, 
and he seems, as you may suppose, greatly pleased with them, 
especially with the notion in one of them about making a 
country parson's cottage the rudiments of a sort of monastery. 
P. expressed a little surprise that one should encourage a man 
of that stamp to go abroad when there is so much to be done 
at home. He is always very jealous on that score. I mentioned 
also to him your suggestion about a " Retreat," which he heartily 
enters into, and thinks Isaac Williams the person for it, and his 
neighbourhood the place. I mean shortly to start it to Isaac, 
but I am a little afraid of his shrinking from it for some reasons. 
Probably we shall go to Bisley soon, and then it may be all 
talked over. I love to think over the day you spent with us. 
God grant that all may go on as you wish ; and I hope you will 
go among many old croakers, and do them as much good as you 
did me. 

My wife, I think, is a little more hearty than she was then. 
Mr. Parker left us this morning, taking Netley on his way to 
London. With our very kind regards, believe me, yours ever 
affectionately, J. KEBLE. 

You left a sermon of Pusey's here. If you will get another I 
will pay for it through the Dysons. 


DOGMERSFIELD, Nov. 18, [1845]. 

. . . For yourself, dear W., what more can your friends 
wish for you than that you should feel, as you now do, the fear 


of clinging too much to domestic happiness, and the benefit of 
being sometimes deprived of it? ... It is a great comfort 
in the fierce storm we are passing through to know what you 
say of yourself. Every one who weathers a point seems to be 
now a great help to others, in spite of all the subdivisions of 
opinion amongst them. . . . 


December 16, 1845. 

MY DEAR SIR, I have been very anxious to write to you for 
some months past, almost ever since our visit to Hursley in 
the summer. But chiefly, I believe, because I did not like to 
trouble you at this particular time, both on account of the 
time of sorrow and doubtfulness, and especially when we heard 
so poor an account of dear Mrs. Keble, I have always put it off. 

Now, however, I am driven to write by a pressing note 
from Burns for the enclosed sermons which have been some 
time in type. In the summer you kindly promised to look 
at them, and advise me of any serious blunder, of which 
I do not feel at all secure. They are written to supply the 
wants of my own parish, who are perhaps more than usually 
uneducated. And yet, when I came to examine others, 
servants, small shopkeepers, and the like, I found so dense 
an ignorance on all religious subjects, and so much misap- 
prehension and distortion of important truths, words seeming 
to have literally no meaning in their mouths, that I hope 
they may be useful to others. I have rather endeavoured to 
place pictures before them, and to make them realise what I 
talked about, so that they might talk about it among them- 
selves when they get home. If you think that they are 
likely to do harm, or even not to do good, I am sure I 
should not wish to add to the great floating capital of sermons 
in print. Recent matters certainly, in a degree, alter the 
interest one takes in a work of the kind, making one write 
with less certainty, and entirely doing away with the esprit 
de corps feeling, yet as I do not know why I am not what 
I have always supposed I was, a Minister of the English 
Church, I suppose I ought to try to do the best I can as 


such. Connected with this is the other matter, about which 
I meant very much to ask you, the "Retreat." I am certain 
that hardly a day has passed on which it has not come 
forcibly before me. If we are to be a Church, surely our 
clergy must become holy. And I know personally a very large 
number who, partly from defective superintendence, partly 
from natural badness, passed the whole time of school and 
college in a most reckless and unholy way. Then perhaps 
in a year, without any sort of cur/c^o-is, but merely the repent- 
ance of a heart not knowing its own sinfulness and yet not 
wholly devilish, they were ordained. Many of these, my own 
personal friends, are now repenting most bitterly ; their sins 
are lying like a heavy load upon them, and torturing them 
indescribably. They long to confess and go through some 
prescribed penance. . . . And of course, the same feeling of the 
weight of unrepented sin hinders them very much in their 
daily work. Sinful recollections are not cleared away. They 
seem to recur in the most holy seasons. Prayers are 
deadened. And it seems gross hypocrisy to be talking to 
others, and trying to raise them to a high standard of 
religious feeling. And independently of all this, I can only 
say for myself that I am in the greatest fear of having all 
my work secularised. The constant dealing with holy things 
without any intermission of prayer and watchfulness and 
fasting and self-examination I find most hardening. Mr. 
Butterfield said to me the other day that it startled him to 
see how little reverence for holy places was in men who 
profess High Church principles, and who certainly started 
with it. 

I am sure that the requisite money would be provided at 
once, if only some one who could be relied upon would take 
the thing up. If Mr. Isaac Williams or Mr. Marriott would 
but take a house and let men come to it for five or six or 
eight weeks every year, I suppose in different parties, according 
as it suited, the whole seems provided for. And really one 
does not see how our priests are to be made hoi}' in any 
other way. 

Pray forgive me for troubling you with all this. But it is 
very near my heart, and I feel almost hopeless of myself unless 
I can tear myself from the routine of work and get under 



some rule of life from time to time. And I know that it is 
the case with so many others Of the men of my standing at 
Cambridge I think very few escaped, and I should think it 
was much the same at Oxford. And how is it possible for 
the work of such not to be inherently rotten? I feel very 
much ashamed of sending all this to you. 

My wife and myself are very anxious to hear of Mrs. Keble. 
As Dogmersfield has not said anything lately, we concluded 
that she was better. Pray remember us both most kindly to 
her, although this does not half express what we should like 
to say. A. is growing a fat, strong boy. 

I need not say that the more faults found the more thankful 
I shall be. 


Ash Wednesday, 1846. 

As I hear you have been in Oxford, I daresay you have 
long ago obtained an answer to the inquiry which you sent 
me, far more satisfactory than I can send. Why I have been 
so tardy I can scarce say ; except that it is I. Marriott wrote 
me word that he thought something in the nature of a Eetreat 
might be managed at Leeds, under the clergy of St. Saviour's. 
But failing that he seemed to say it was not impossible that 
he might be able to do something towards such a plan, especially 
if a negotiation succeeded which he was then engaged in with 
Newman for the loan of the house at Littlemore. You probably 
saw him, and know all this better than I do; and know also 
that our dear Isaac Williams is in such a state as to make it 
impossible to look to him; though his decline is very gradual, 
and the last accounts have seemed as if he were a little better : 
but the doctors think the same as before of the case. 

If you attend the meetings of the C.C.S., 1 or are in corre- 
spondence with them, I should be glad of a private answer to 
this question : Whether a church built of rough granite had 
better have its quoins of Caen stone or of granite ashlar, the 
windows being Caen stone? 

Cambridge Camden Society. 



CASTLE BURY, WARE, March 5, 1846. 

I am sure you need not apologise for not writing a reply 
to such as me. But I hope you will be so good on a future 
occasion when you should have cause to do so, as to say how 
you yourself are, for I only heard by accident from one whom 
I saw on Sunday, that you had been confined to your room 
for some time. I enclose you two opinions on the question you 
propose, which you will see coincide both in argument and 
conclusion. One is from Butterfield (1), the other (2) from 
Webb, acting pro C.C.S., on an official sheet. Neither of them 
knows for whom I ask the question. So that I hope you will be 
satisfied on this point. I was in Oxford for but one day, and 
that was spent entirely in one place. Indeed, I went there 
merely to see Dr. Pusey, and to be away from every one ; I 
don't know why I should hesitate to mention it to you ; to make 
a general confession to him. Of course my thoughts were on 
this one subject, and though I had said something to him some 
days before in London about the Retreat, yet we did not recur 
to it. I can only say that I feel more than ever anxious to 
see something of the kind established. I believe it would save 
directly and indirectly many souls, raising the fallen, and 
strengthening those that stand. For now that it is beginning 
to be comparatively common for men to make a general 
confession, it becomes a very serious question, as it seems to 
me, what they are to do for the future. As far as I know, 
though many are desirous to make a confession, and to continue 
it as a habit through life, the thing is all but impossible. Those 
few who are in the habit of taking general confessions are fully 
occupied without the addition of having to act as constant 
spiritual guides. But men might go to a Retreat periodically, 
and there receive the advantage of regular confession, and the 
continual preparation for it. When the eye is not single it seems 
very fearful to have to guide oneself. Pray forgive me for saying 
all this, but I feel it so strongly that I could not help it, as 
you mentioned the subject. Littlemore would, I should think, 
be the very place. ... I am going shortly to trouble you 
with a few more sermons, but I hope you will not hesitate, if 
you think good, to send them back unread. 


We are on the point of beginning our house. My wife begs 
to be very affectionately remembered to Mrs. Keble and yourself. 
Our little ones are very hearty, and A.'s hair is as curly as 

June, 1846, brought the offer of Wantage, a living 
in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Windsor, 
vacant by the death of the Hon. H. L. Hobart, D.D., 
Dean of Windsor, which was made by Mrs. Butler's 
uncle, William Canning, Canon of Windsor. The 
living was a good one from a pecuniary point of 
view, and had been held for a century and a half by 
non-resident vicars, who placed a curate in the 
vicarage on a very modest stipend. The place, an 
ancient little market town lying on the northern 
edge of the Berkshire Downs, offered few attractions 
except the opportunity which it gave of hard work 
for the Church on " Tractarian " principles. It had, 
however, been the birthplace of two eminent English- 
men King Alfred and Bishop Butler. This gave 
the place, insignificant in itself, a certain distinction. 
Letters written at the time give William Butler's 
first impressions of the future scene of his labours, 
and the misgivings and anxieties with which he 
entered on w T hat proved to be the chief work of his 


Sunday Evening [June, 1846]. 

. . . My friend here is "Boots," a most agreeable person- 
age, who lionised me over the town, and with whom I 
confer on train lists, etc. I suspect he guesses my errand, 
for he just informed me confidentially that he heard great 


praise of my performance this morning. Sexton in gallery 
declared he heard the words as clear as if he was close to me. 
I mention this because one wants rather to know what 
impression a most deliberate intonation produces in a new 
place. ... At the station when I got my ticket a young 
man, hearing me ask for Faringdon Road, asked if I were 
going to Wantage. He was. I thought I might pick him a 
little, and so we joined company. But he knew very little 
about it. He was a banker's clerk, seemed simple-minded 
and good; we took a gig together from Faringdon Road to 
Wantage. I paid chiefly, but saved something by this 
arrangement. Arrived here at twelve. Took a glass of ale 
and went to bed, tired as many cats. This morning I got up 

early and indited a note to Mr. B , l explaining my case. He 

answered me very kindly, asking me to dinner, etc. He is a very 
short fat little man, perhaps fifty-six years of age or less, very 
kind and hospitable, with a good deal of general knowledge 
and fun about him. I like him very much indeed. I took 
morning service. Really, at times, owing to the strange 
differences in singing, the slovenly way of conducting the 
services, the Communion service from reading desk, etc., I 
hardly knew what I was doing. It seemed so very odd to 

end with the Nicene Creed. B 's sermon was drier than 

hay. Not a word of sense in it. I only wonder so many 
people can sit through such discourses. I was as fidgety as 
possible, and were I likely to undergo such things continually 
I must join one of the sects with which Wantage is rife. 
Lengthy, too. "This leads me to consider," and all that. 
Sermon over I went to his house. I wished to preach in the 
evening solely to escape another of these preachments. But 
I thought I might be caught out if I praught from type, so, 
after considering the pros and cons, I determined not. ... I 

dined with Mr. B . After dinner we walked to Grove, in 

the patronage of Wantage. The church and parsonage were 
built by Dr. Cotton, of Worcester. And who, think you, is 
the incumbent 1 ? Mr. Simcox Bricknell, the man who wrote 
circulars about the Tractarians. He was at home, and not a 
bad fellow after all. Now it is past eleven. To-morrow I 
shall leave this at a half to seven, get to Didcot, thence to 
1 The curate in charge. 


Oxford, where I shall call on Dr. Pusey. Then to Reading, 
whence I shall to Dogmersfield. . . . There will be a 
terrible coil about building. There is scarcely any glebe. 
Garden is sunk ; churchyard cramped ; house stands very low ; 
air is bracing, so you will grow fat. Wantage Downs are 
famous. I like the looks of the people. They speak a very 
rough dialect. If we have this it mil make a strange difference 
in our way of living, not our household arrangements, but in 
all our thoughts and ways. I tremble to think of it. And 
yet, on the whole, I rather hope my advisers will bid me take 

it. If have it, he will not reside. He came here immediately 

after the Dean's death and saw Mr. B . This is, of course, 

a consideration. I can no more. This is horrid rubbish, but 
my pen has been steaming along. 

P.S. I have seen Dr. Pusey. He rests on Mr. Dyson, but 
considers it doubtful \vhether I ought to leave my present 


[June 29, 1846.] 

MY DEAR FATHER, I wished to get Mr. Dyson's letter before 
writing to you again. We seemed to have exhausted all argu- 
ments on both sides of the question, all that remained being the 
actual decision. Mr. Dyson writes thus : " So far from altering 
the view I took respecting your acceptance of Wantage, recon- 
sideration only confirms me in the opinion I gave you when 
here, that on the balance of pros and cons it was advisable 
that you should accept it. It was, indeed, chiefly on the 
consideration of the very great usefulness to that large parish 
. . . that I thought it advisable for you to give up your 
present charge at Wareside in exchange for Wantage. It 
certainly gives you a noble opportunity of doing God service 
through His Church, and acting on essential Church principles. 
At the same time I must say that, unless I were confident you 
would act on such principles both conscientiously and judiciously, 
in a spirit of charity and moderation as well as zeal, I would 
never advise you to undertake it. Under a different spirit such 
a parish would be a continual source of regret and discomfort 
to one of your disposition. I anticipate also a most important 


benefit to yourself in the larger opportunity you will have for 
professional reading and self-communication when your time 
and thoughts will be less distracted by so many demands from 
pupils as you now have. I take it for granted, in saying this, 
that you will have a good staff of curates to share your labours 
and give you room for rest." He writes on most kindly and 
sensibly, but this is the gist of his letter. So that I now hesitate 
no longer. I wrote to Mr. Canning by this morning's post to 
advise him of this, and I shall expect to hear very soon from 
the Chapter Clerk. I saw the Bishop of Oxford on Friday at 
the House of Lords. He was very kind and bland, and told 
me distinctly that he thought I ought to accept the charge, 
looking on it as a sort of call. Also he perfectly agreed to my 
intention of remaining here for some months to come. In the 
course of a few weeks I shall go there again, and make various 
inquiries about the condition of the house, dilapidations, etc. 

W. J. B. TO 

AM WELL, WARE, July 9, 1846. 

... In this matter of Wantage it seems to me strange 
that you should not understand how very serious a thing it is 
for one like myself, only 28 years old, and very much off the 
sort of study and preparation which a country town needs, to 
take upon myself the care of 3000 souls, living souls, to 
prepare for eternity. It certainly seems strange that you should 
not understand that a state of doubtfulness must come over 
me, fear for my own soul, and consideration for others. How 
am I to solve my doubts 1 Could such considerations as position, 
income, and the like come for a moment into calculation ? First 
Death, then the Judgement. What have position in this miserable 
world, income, comforts, to do with such as these? . . . 
And then you do not understand that we should feel grief at 
leaving a work in which we delight, and terror (I do not regret 
the word) in undertaking so fearful a work as the charge of 
3000 souls, who at present are in a most unsatisfactory condition. 
How little can you know of the condition of these market 
towns. They are the very most troublesome, most painful spots 


of Christ's Heritage, the Church in England. Not a clergyman 
engaged in them but will tell you that his heart sinks within 
him. And who am I, to take such a labour on myself? As for 
" seeing difficulties " and the like, it would be worse than foolish 
to shut my eyes to them. I do see the difficulties, and I only 
pray that I may see them tenfold more strongly than I do. 
This does not in the least imply that I shall not work hard to 
overcome them. Of course I shall. But naturally the prospect 
makes me sad and thoughtful. ... I own I dread the 
congratulations of my friends on an occasion which involves so 
fearful a responsibility. And if I were to appear to hug them, 
I should only be deceitful. Let my friends comfort me, pray 
for me, advise me, make allowances for me, but not congratulate 
me as though I had gained a great step in life. When Death and 
Judgement, Heaven and Hell, are the matters in consideration, 
both for myself and so many others, ought I not to have done 
as I have done shunned to the greatest possible degree every 
worldly question ? And now to the course of life which I look 
to pursue at Wantage. I shall indeed try to become far more 
self-denying than I have ever been before. I shall certainly 
spend what money I have altogether on the place, and I shall 
try to get two or three men with me who will thoroughly 
sympathise and work with me. If I am fit for such a work, 
it is quite clear that I ought to be able to guide myself, or rather 
to know where to seek for guidance. And as I have taken Mr. 
Dyson's advice in one point, it would be foolish and wrong not 
to carry it out. 


AMWELL, WAKE, July 22, 1846. 

I thank you very much for thinking of me and mine. It is 
indeed a strengthening to have the good wishes of so many 
and such, but I am nevertheless very much oppressed with the 
prospect of Wantage. I thought at one time that I should 
like work of this kind, but now that it has come to me I dread 
it very much. So many difficult points seem to arise how 
much to do, how much not to do; how to encourage a Catholic 
^0os under the disadvantage of Protestant or Puritan ways, 
and then that whole class of questions which connect them- 


selves with Dissenters. And then one feels so much fear as 
to how best to begin, whether to start strenuously and try to 
gain something in this way, or to wait and watch opportunities. 
I am not going to "Wantage till Christmas, which will give me 
some time for reflection, and also enable me to leave this 
place more satisfactorily. Next Monday my wife, youngsters, 
and I myself go to Dogmersfield, she to remain a fortnight 
there, while I go to Littlemore. I shall return to Dogmers- 
field on Monday, August 10. We should like very much to 
spend a day at Hursley, if you could take us in. And we 
could bring or leave our little ones as would be most con- 
venient to you and Mrs. Keble. . . . May I trouble you 
to look at the enclosed ? 

My wife desires me to say how often she thinks of the 
kindness of Mrs. Keble and yourself. A. has quite outgrown 


HUKSLEY, Aug. 3, 1846. 

Forgive my not answering you sooner. I cannot say that I 
have much excuse, for I have had a sort of sore throat which 
has kept me from duty, and pretty much at home, so that I 
had not much to do besides answering letters. But somehow 
it has crept on from day to day. I don't wonder at your 
many musings about Wantage, but I feel so sure that you are 
right in going there, that I cannot doubt your being guided, 
from day to day, and from week to week, to the right course 
of proceeding. It is a good omen, Butler of Wantage. And 
Littlemore, I trust, will be a good preparation for it. We 
shall be very glad to see you here next week, if you can 
manage it; but, unfortunately, we are unable to give you 
much choice of time. I am going, I believe, to Leamington 
on Monday, the 10th, for one day only, and on the 13th we 
rather expect some of the Irish Lefroys, who will fill our 
house; so that you seem put up between the llth and 12th, if 
it must be that week. If those days, or any part of them, will 
suit you, we shall be very glad to see you, all four. 

I have read your sermons l twice over, with much interest, 
1 Sermons for Working Men. Masters. 1847. 


and have made a few corrections which I hope will not puzzle 
you or the printer. I should say that some of the sentences 
would be the better for shortening. I will just ask you in 
reference to what you say in p. 92 as to the mystical inter- 
pretation Should you not suppose it in the present rather a 
matter of tradition from the Apostles, however the details of 
it are the reward of holy lives and persevering study 1 

I am very desirous of finding someone who will undertake 
the Curacy of Shoreditch under an old friend of mine, an 
excellent but a very nervous fellow the stipend 100 a 
year with a house said to be worth 50 only it is very 
uncomfortable, as I daresay you know, from the JFare-ishness 
of the people, as well as the hard work. If someone would 
have the same mind with which you go to Wantage, that 
would be just the thing. How glad I should be if you did 
happen to know of any one. Will it be giving you too much 
trouble to inquire at Cambridge for me. 


LITTLEMORE, Friday [Aug., 1846]. 

Thank you very much for your kind words and the trouble 
you have taken for my sermons. I fear that I shall not be able 
to get the corrections (much as they are wanted) made in p. 86, 
for that sermon is the fair proof, after the revise, merely printed 
off to fill up the sheet. Not having my books about me I really 
cannot find whence I got that mystical interpretation. My im- 
pression is that some outline of it struck me some time ago, but 
that I feared to write it till I found it confirmed. If I mistake 
not, the same view is more or less worked out in ' the Nativity.' 
I do feel it the greatest comfort in this Wantage business that I 
am not following my own guidance, and that so many hold one 
view on the subject. If only I am strong enough for it (I don't 
mean ph} r sically), it is of course important for the spread of true 
Church principles that I should not decline it, being that probably 
it would be passed on to some other views. I have long felt, 
though I never thought myself fit but for the very smallest 
approach to such a work, that farmers and shopkeepers should be 
leavened with the Church. At present they are heathens in all 
but one thing. Marriott's College seems the way of doing it, 


giving these classes a vested interest, so to speak, in the clergy. 
I cannot help thinking that the domestic influence of the clergy is 
what really tells, or at least tells most. One may see this in 
the upper ranks, where a son in Holy Orders will leaven a whole 
' gens.' And one should suppose that the same would tell with 
even greater force in the lower and less educated classes. But I 
cannot help thinking that a parish priest may, if he have the 
right way of setting to work, manage a good deal of this. I am 
not quite sure whether ' Butler of Wantage ' is not, on a calcula- 
tion of chances, against me. One should suppose that he would 
exhaust the powers of Wantage to produce Butlers, and that 
future B.'s would [be] the poorest of their species. 

All this time I have not said that the two days which you 
mention are the very two that suit us best Tuesday and Wed- 
nesday and we will find our way to Hursley by an afternoon 
train. I must leave this to my wife to settle, as she knows the 
trains and I do not. She will write. I have enjoyed my time 
here very much. 

On reading your letter again, I see I mistook your words. I 
thought you asked whence it came 1 I see now that you warn 
me against a ' blundering ' way of putting it, which shall be cor- 
rected. I will write to Cambridge, but Shoreditch will frighten 
most men. 


CASTLE BURY, WARE, Nov. 17, 1846. 

May I ask you to cast your eye over the enclosed? I feel 
rather doubtful whether in endeavouring to make things plain and 
popular I am not grounding too much on illustration. I was at 
Cambridge a few weeks since, and I tried to get some men to 
work up a cheap hostelry to be connected with a College as 
Colleges are with the University. This seems feasible enough, 
for all Colleges at Cambridge admit men lodging in the town, 
and I do not well see how, when they license every tradesman 
or other who applies, they could refuse a clergyman. This is 
all that would be required from the authorities, and with this 
any one willing for the work might take a house and work his 
men as he pleased; of course, seeing that they attended Hall 
and Chapel and kept to the other duties of their College. 
Marriott wrote to me suggesting an old building called the 


School of Pythagoras for some such purpose. But we could not 
get this, and on the whole I did not see much spirit at Cambridge 
to commence an undertaking of the kind. Cambridge is as " flat " 
as possible. Some of those from whom I expected most are 
taking up queer original views of their own, as it were to hold 
Church views without the odium connected with them, drawing 
some little difference, just enough to say, "I don't agree 
with so-and-so." I came away more disheartened than I ever 
remember myself before. Cams and his friends are active 
enough in their way, and no doubt keep up a certain degree 
of morality and piety. But then a very large body of men 
never can feel with them, and these are left without guide 
or comfort. . . . We go to Wantage after Christmas. 


HURSLEY, Nov. 18, 1846. 

It does not seem to me that in this sheet at least you have 
fallen into the error which you apprehend. And I should 
suppose that your fear of it will be a great security against it. 
To a certain extent, I suppose it was intended that each person 
should have his own impressions from the Parables and similes 
of Scriptures, as in life from the very things themselves ; and 
that those impressions, being communicated, should do good. 
I don't remember anything in your sermons which startles one 
as going beyond this. 

Your notion of a Cambridge Hospitium seems a very good 
one. I trust it will be borne in mind. If your friends with 
the " queer views " will only act as such an institution requires, 
I think we may bear with their little distinctions, which are 
but too natural in these times, when hardly two Churchmen 
speak alike. 

All good be with you, your family, your parishes, and your 
successor, the thought of whom must be a great comfort to you. 
Thank you for mentioning A. 


[Probably about Christmas, 1846.] 

. . . Thank you, from my heart, for your greetings of the 
season, and for your gift of the Prayers, which seem to me 


more suitable than any collection we have seen ; and the 
prefatory rules must be useful. Such a collection, I suppose, 
always requires that the people should be trained beforehand 
to wish for it, as your people would be. Our curate observed 
that he wished the print were larger, because the persons most 
likely to use the Prayers may have to use it in the dusk, and 
he finds the bad print of good books is really a great hindrance 
with the poor. However, in the case of daily Prayers it may 
be supposed they will soon be learnt by heart. In the case 
of such books as Dr. Hook's Meditations for Every Day, which 
seems in itself so good, it is a great objection. Of course, the 
answer is, the expense. 

We understand your misgivings about Wantage. But those 
who know you well do not misgive certainly not the Nest. 1 
There must be much to dishearten, but still a little done, a 
few good Church-people trained, is a great thing in such a 
place. . . . That poor dear Wareside will always be a pleasant 
spot in your memory. Perhaps it would have been too much 
of a romance not to be a snare, had it gone on as hitherto ; 
anyhow it is pleasant to know and think of. ... 

1 A pet name among the Dysons' friends for Dogmersfield Rectory. 


THE new vicar took up his residence in Wantage 
in the beginning of 1847, and was alone there for 
a few weeks while the old vicarage (dating, it is 
said, from the sixteenth century) was being made 
habitable for his wife and children. Wantage 
possesses a severe, though healthy, climate, and he 
suffered considerably from cold and general discomfort 
during those early days, while he was trying to 
devise the best means of solving the many problems 
that lay before him. 


[Jan., 1847.] 

You mustn't grumble at work. I only wish you were at Wan- 
tage just now and you would see. . . . My cold changed, or 
rather superadded influenza, bad taste and smell, etc., but on 
the whole I am better to-day, though far from well. V. came, to 
my great joy, yesterday at dinner time and we walked about a 
little. Fancy the difference between a village and a town ; a 
funeral and baptism on Friday, two funerals yesterday. The 
number of deaths since Dec. 16 to now is 20; this is more than 
the average, about one a week. Then the horrid apathy and 

1847-1853 SETTING TO WORK 47 

irreverence of the whole concern, the crowd of idlers, etc., made 
me rather down-hearted. The churchyard is in an abominable 
state. It ought at once to be remedied, so noisy and unclean, 
with long rank grass all over it. Bury me at Wareside. Railroad 
will take me cheap. After two or three false starts I began and 
wrote a sermon which under all circumstances will do, I hope. I 
have not seen the churchwarden, but as I spoke pretty plainly I 
shall ask him if it were too plain. You shall see it. V. thought 
it would do very well. We began Communion service from altar. 
It is rather lonely work without a soul but children near one. I 
placed V. in the stalls. Might we see them filled one day with 
clergy and choir. Those stalls really are a great point. I did all 
the morning and shall leave V. to do all the afternoon service. I 
must go to Oxford this week to be appointed surrogate, which is 
an office worth 20 or 25 per annum likewise to get a cassock. 
. . . My room smokes furiously, and I have been obliged to sit 
with window open all this day. . . . 

This is much the coldest house I ever lived in. My study has 
never been as high as ' temperate,' and bedroom, in spite of a fire, 
is so cold that I cannot sleep. 


[Jan. 31, 1847.] 

. . . This day has been spent between visiting and being 
visited. I drove over to Sparsholt to call on the rural dean. He 
wrote last night to consult me about one or two points connected 
with a letter from the Bishop. He, however, was out, but his 
wife was at home, a very ladylike sensible and kind woman, 
whom, I think, you will like. . . . Then, as usual, I visited (1) 
the Ham people, a schoolmaster with a commercial school, a 
respectable pedagogue who might start A., if need be, i.e. if you 
forget your Latin. (2) A Roman Catholic family named Hunt, 
builders in Wantage. I sat and chatted some time. When I 
went away they gave me their card, and then I thought it right 
distinctly to tell them that I could not employ them in church 
work. I explained the circumstances and left them, I believe, 
quite friendly. (3) An old maid named Aldworth, reminding me 

in a small way of Miss , and seemingly good and kind. 

(4) A 'young ladies" academy, etc., etc. In all I mooted the 


school question, and all seemed to agree with me and to be willing 
to help. The congregation of yesterday seems to have been the 
talk of the place, so we must try to strike while the iron is hot. 
. . . Two more funerals this morning. I do wish we had some 
parish books. It is slow work copying and copying, as we do 
now, all the rough notes of our visiting, without the satisfaction of 
seeing them in some form. V. works like a horse. . . . 


HURSLEY, Jan. 28, 1847. 

By this time I imagine you settled at Wantage and deep 
in your work; wherein, such as I am, I would desire most 
heartily to bid you God-speed. I know you have enough and 
too much to do; yet I am about to ask two favours of you, 
which may give you more or less trouble. They both relate 
more or less to our dear friend Dr. Pusey. First, do you by 
any chance know of a person whom you can recommend as a 
fit and likely successor to Mr. "Ward at St. Saviour's, now made 
vacant in such a heart-breaking way ? You know, of course, 
the nature of the place, that it was meant to be a sort of College 
of Curates, and in a humble way an effort at Anglican asceticism. 
Now, whoever goes must go with a consciousness that the place 
is under a sort of cloud, and that whatever sympathies he has 
with Pusey must be kept under jealous control, else he will 
never be able to go on with the vicar of Leeds. Indeed, I 
shall tell Pusey that if the choice lies between an ascetic who 
will be suspected and an ordinary hard-working curate such as 
Hook would approve of, I should recommend the latter, under 
present circumstances. The whole affair is a severe stab to 
Pusey ; only he is the sort of person whom nothing really hurts. 
The other matter is a plan which P. and Marriott are 
starting for a popular commentary on the whole Scriptures, on 
patristic principles, to supersede Scott and Henry's, and other 
such ordinary uncatholic performances. Do you think you could 
find time for a portion of it 1 It might very well serve first in 
the way of catechetical or pulpit exposition ; and it will, of 
course, be a long time about, so that you might take your time. 

We have this day begun our work about the Church, but it 
will be very slow for a long time. 



4th S. aft. Ep., 1846 [7]. 

I was not at Wantage when your letter arrived. It journeyed 
after me to London, and reached me on the very day on which I 
set out to fix myself here. This is my reason for the delay 
in answering it. Thank you most deeply for all your kindness. 
Indeed one wants wishes and more than wishes in such a work 
as this at Wantage. The whole population is ignorant and 
apathetic, and some of their ways, after dear Wareside, quite 
startle me. Yet there seems some sort of good old-fashioned 
feeling too, and so far I have met with great kindness from 
all. V. is with me, and this is our first Sunday. There are 
some very good remains in the church, among other points 
eighteen beautifully carved stalls in the chancel. Would that 
I could fill them with clergy and choir. However, I must 
not run on about Wantage, but answer your two questions. . . . 
Touching the commentary, I should be very glad to take a part, 
provided my work were carefully revised by an abler hand than 
myself, and that I had time. Whatever I do must be in the 
New Testament, for my knowledge of Hebrew is very imperfect 
indeed, the very least possible. 

I am so very glad to hear of your church beginning. Slow 
work is, I suppose, the right work. At least, I am working 
myself into that belief. I hope that you will be able to receive 
us in the summer, and that we shall have the chance of seeing it. 

... I have directed a small compilation of Working Men's 
Prayers, which I made out as a parting present to Wareside, to 
be sent to you. 



HARTFORD BRIDGE, May 12, 1847. 

You will see I have worked myself up to answer your note 
with my own hand, which take as a proof that I set some 
value on your communication. Had you sent your question 
about teaching or suppressing the Church Catechism before you 
had the Bishop's reply, I should have said decidedly, Do not 



give up the Catechism. If yours is to be a Church school that 
is one of the distinctive marks of it. Nor do I think you 
would find much (if any) difficulty with Dissenting parents of 
children who come to the school. In all the parishes I have 
been charged with I do not remember any objection being 
made by Dissenters to teaching their children the Catechism, 
except by your old acquaintance, John Burrows, the blacksmith 
here; and he gave way immediately. But since you asked the 
Bishop's advice and received his answer, your question is 
entangled with more difficulty. Yet after considering his 
answers, which seem at first to advise the suppression of the 
Church Catechism quoad Dissenters' children, as well as the 
respect and deference due to him after consulting him, I think I 
see a way by which you may follow your own convictions with- 
out offence. The first answer seems to me to be so qualified, 
and limited by the two following (for if "the Dissenters have 
nothing to do with the school"; and "the tone and manage- 
ment of the school are to be essentially Church," what need to 
make any break in the school teaching for a supposed possible 
objection on their part?) that you may reasonably take the 
Bishop's advice as permissive and not injunctive ; e.g. he sanctions 
your conceding the point if advanced by the Dissenters, and the 
school cannot be accomplished without it; but does not recom- 
mend the concession without such necessity. I should suppose, 
indeed, that he would be really glad if you could go on with the 
school without it. That at least is the way in which you may 
quite respectfully take his advice. . . . 

The Ven. Alfred Pott, Archdeacon of Berks, gives 
his recollections of William Butler's work in the 
Diocese of Oxford, which in 1847 had recently 
come under the vigorous rule of Bishop Samuel 

I am asked to put on paper some of my recollections of the 
work of Dean Butler in the Diocese of Oxford, with which we 
were both associated for so many years. From the time that 
he came to Wantage until the time of his leaving it we were 
fellow-workers in almost every important Diocesan movement. 


My own intimacy with Bishop Wilberforce dated from the period 
of my ordination as priest at Christmas, 1846, and Butler took 
the vicarage of Wantage, I think, in January, 1847. I well 
remember his coming to Cuddesdon to consult the Bishop as to 
his accepting the vicarage. I was a young curate, and he not 
many years my senior. Of his parochial work it is not for me 
to speak. Others more closely connected with him in that 
work will speak of the wonderful way in which his energy and 
devotion regenerated the dormant spiritual life of an insignificant 
Berkshire town, and raised it to the position which it now holds. 
I remember one sentence in a letter of Bishop Wilberforce, where 
he says, " Butler's work is amazing." No one knew better than 
that great Bishop how to pick his men, and to make them all 
work under him for the good of his Diocese. It will be remem- 
bered how in those years that Diocese needed entire new organiza- 
tion as much as did the parish of Wantage. Consisting, as it had 
done from the days of Henry the Eighth, of the one county of 
Oxford, and even that curtailed by large peculiars, excepted from 
the Bishop's jurisdiction, the See had been occupied by a 
succession of prelates, holding with the bishopric other dignities, 
ecclesiastical or academical, in commendam, to make up the 
scanty endowments of the See. Then, among the many changes 
of our own day, the county of Berks had been taken from the 
See of Salisbury, in the later years of Bishop Bagot, and added 
to Oxford. And similarly the county of Buckingham was taken 
from Lincoln and thrown into Oxford on the accession of Bishop 
Wilberforce. It needed the genius of a statesman to consolidate 
these heterogeneous elements into one organic whole still more 
to make the reality of Episcopal influence felt through every 
part of so large an area. The Bishop was supported by a noble 
body of officers. His Rural Deans especially gathered round him 
(to use a likeness suggested by one of them) like Napoleon's 
marshals round the Emperor. Nearly all of that company have 
passed away. While they continued, Butler, who became one 
of the body soon after he came into the Diocese, held a very 
prominent place. Younger in years than many of his fellows, 
and in some cases, it must be allowed, looked upon with a slight 
measure of suspicion, his enthusiasm and energy, and, above all, 
his strong common-sense, soon won for him a recognised position. 
The Bishop himself was keenly alive to his value. Butler was 


never very tolerant of carelessness or neglect of duty in those 
around him, and this in itself did sometimes provoke impatient 
discontent on the part of those whose slothfulness was rebuked 
by his activity. I remember one of his neighbours complaining 
to the Bishop. " Mr. Butler, my Lord, seems to have acquired 
an undue hold upon us. Every one is growing to look upon him 
as the one authority in the Deanery." " Indeed," replied the 
Bishop, " I am truly glad to hear it ; that is exactly as I should 
wish it to be." 

Among the many instrumentalities for stirring up the life of the 
Diocese, Bishop Wilberforce's "missions" occupied a prominent 
place. The missions of that period were altogether different in 
their organization from the movements known by that name now. 
They were held usually in the Lent Ember season. The Bishop 
would gather round him a body of picked clergy of various 
shades of religious opinion, some from his own Diocese, some 
from a distance, but all concentrated in some one important 
centre. From that centre they radiated to every neighbouring 
village ready to receive them, the Bishop himself usually remaining 
at the centre, himself celebrating Communion daily and preaching 
several times during the week, as a rule opening the mission with 
a sermon on the first Sunday of the Ember week, and closing 
it with an evening sermon on the last Sunday. On this last 
Sunday the ordination was held at the central church, thus 
bringing the realities of the apostolic communion before a number 
who had very probably never seen an ordination in their lives, 
and were ignorant for the most part of what an ordination 
was. The first, I think, of these missions was at Wantage. 
I well remember the little old dilapidated vicarage at the west 
end of the church where the lime trees now grow, where 
evening after evening the Bishop gathered his mission clergy 
and received from them reports of their day's work. Almost 
all the important towns of the Diocese enjoyed these helps 
afterwards, and there were few in which the vicar of Wantage 
did not take his part. 

Another most important organization, which has lasted down 
to our time, was the formation of the three Diocesan societies 
Education, Church-building, Spiritual Aid ; those who know some- 
thing of the great educational establishments which have sprung 
up in Wantage itself, under the vicar's fostering care, will readily 


believe that he was a very important factor in the working of 
every educational effort for the whole Diocese. At the quarterly 
meetings in Oxford, at the gatherings of inspectors at Cuddesdon, 
in the formation of such institutions as our Training College at 
Culham, and in the management of that College, up to the time 
of his leaving the Diocese, he was ever an active and a wise 
counsellor. In the midst of all his hard work at Wantage he 
held for many years the office of Bishop's Inspector for the 
Deanery. In his examinations of schools he was impatient 
of slovenliness and inaccuracy, and did sometimes provoke a 
measure of resentment on the part of those who were themselves 
slovenly or inaccurate. But any one who had been with him 
in his own schools knew how little he tolerated such defects among 
his own teachers or children. It has been well said, if he was 
severe upon others, he was most severe of all upon himself. 

It will be remembered that in looking back upon his early 
days in our Diocese, we are recalling a period when the whole 
of the present elementary educational system was in its infancy. 
"\Ve had to watch a development which, little by little, has grown 
into an organisation which we cannot now contemplate without 
some anxiety. But here too his strong good sense was ready 
to discriminate between the good and the evil inherent in the 
state system of education. He, and I myself, lived through a 
period, at the beginning of which the Department came to us, 
asking us to receive almost as a matter of favour to themselves, 
their money grants and their inspection, into a period when that 
inspection has become compulsory and their money grants 
indispensable. From the first he readily accepted the good 
part of the system, and did what lay in him to eliminate 
the bad. While you make the faith of the Church the ground- 
work of all your teaching, not only of what is called the religious 
element, while you do this, he would say, do not reject any 
help offered tending to make any part of your teaching more 
perfect. I recollect in those early days one of his own teachers 
doubting whether she ought to have anything to do with 
Government help, or Government certificates and examinations, 
as things savouring of the world and not of the Church. " Use 
all such helps," said the vicar; "reject none of them. If the 
great Cham of Tartary were to open an examination I would 
go in for it if it would in any way help on my school in any 


branch of knowledge." But an account of the vicar's work 
in Wantage itself will be more fully given by another hand. 

One more recollection. In the year 1853 Bishop Wilberforce 
proposed to me the building of a Theological College at 
Cuddesdon. The first person of whom I thought as a counsellor 
in the matter was the vicar of Wantage, and I at once went 
thither to talk over the matter with him. It was by no means 
the easy matter which it may now seem to carry out such a 
scheme, especially within eight miles of Oxford. There were 
many adversaries, even among those who were usually loyal 
supporters of the Bishop. It is to the enthusiastic and steady 
support of Butler, and the strong faith of the Bishop himself 
and some few staunch friends in the necessity for such institutions, 
that Cuddesdon owed its beginnings. And those who can call 
to mind those days under myself, Canon Liddon, and the Bishop 
of Lincoln, will bear witness to the help given to all of us by 
the same generous friend in times of trouble and rebuke and 

It would be easy, associated as I was for so many years wilh 
Butler, to speak of other parts of his labours ("amazing," 
as Bishop Wilberforce called them), but it is of his Diocesan 
work that I have been asked to recall some memories. There 
are few (if any) left besides myself who lived through the 
whole period of his life in the Oxford Diocese ; of Wantage, the 
Sisterhood, Worcester, Lincoln, others will doubtless be asked 
to tell. Some memories are, after all, short-lived, but the work 
itself survives, and the Diocese is still reaping the harvest which 
was sown by the vicar of Wantage and Bishop Wilberforce. 

The parish of which William Butler had now 
beQome vicar was one that enjoyed an evil reputation. 
" Black Wantage," as it was called, was one of those 
half-urban, half-rural parishes which are in many 
respects most difficult to manage, combining neither 
the advantages of town or country. As the birthplace 
of King Alfred and Bishop Butler it is not without 
historical associations, but its local importance con- 
sisted solely in being the corn market of the farmers 


in the Vale of White Horse. There were no resident 
gentry. Rope-making had been the staple industry, 
but it was in its decline, and an iron foundry was 
taking its place. There was a stately cruciform 
church, but the internal arrangements were far from 
being decent or in order, although the general effect 
was imposing " a church that would awe people 
into devotion," as was said by one of the great 
architects of the day. The " Latin school" and a 
dame school occupied the churchyard, the latter 
attended by only thirty-six children out of a popula- 
tion of 3282. The vicarage, an ancient, thatched, 
dilapidated building, stood at the west end of the 
church. A graphic picture of Wantage is drawn in 
the Bristol Times, under date December 1847, only 
a few months after the new vicar's arrival, which 
shows how he had already begun to make his mark 
on the place. 

Wantage, says the anonymous writer, though it has two inns, 
three tailors and drapers, one policeman, a brace of watchmen, 
and gas lamps, is little better than streets of farm-houses con- 
fronting each other, with flocks and herds feeding out in the 
rear. . . . While strolling about on Saturday evening I found 
the church door open, and entered. There were some men at 
work repairing and restoring the chancel. . . . The new clergy- 
man is of the new school zealous, anxious, ever in his work. 
He is evidently one of the race of clergymen who have of late 
years sprung up to replace the old high-and-dry denomination, 
and compete in energy and zeal with the evangelical order one 
of a class who emerged from their Colleges at Oxford and Cam- 
bridge with ideas already formed of pastoral duty, with plans 
prepared and purposes fixed to carry them out with a kind of 
Christian chivalry. If some of them have lacked discretion, 
none of them have been deficient in devotedness, and many have 


a wakened a new spirit in the parishes over which they were 
placed, filling churches that before, morning and evening, 
boasted but a cheerless few, and crowding schools that before were 
neglected and in decay. This, I learnt, had been the case here. 
The present incumbent came after a rector [sic] with whom he 
stood strongly contrasted. Wantage has been one of those places 
which have commonly been considered an appanage to some 
cathedral stall, or a fat gift for some favoured pluralist, who 
thought it no sin, as Lord Eldon said, " to shear the sheep he did 
not feed." The Dean of St. George's Chapel, at Windsor, was 
the last of the favoured few to whom Wantage fell. Twice a year 
he arrived with a carpet bag at the Bear Inn, received his tithes, 
and returned, without leaving either his carpet bag or his bless- 
ing behind him. After such a pastor, any ordinary conscientious 
clergyman must have been a change for the better; and the 
present being more than commonly painstaking, the consequences 
of increased zeal began to be gradually seen in increased con- 
gregations ; pew doors, the latches of which had rusted in their 
staples, were gradually opened; seats, from which the moths had 
not been disturbed for years, began to fill; the dry-rot that 
extended from pews to pulpit, and pulpit to pews, was stayed; 
and on the Sunday I was there the edifice was completely filled 
with smock-frocks and broadcloth. I liked the sermon, because I 
thought it an original one; none of those firstly, secondly, and 
thirdly compilations one hears too often, in nine cases out of ten, 
and which all appear to be cut out of the same pattern. 

The vicar began at once to cope with the many 
difficulties that faced him in his new parish. One 
was in the shape of the small hamlet of Charlton, 
about a mile from the parish church, and inhabited 
only by two farmers and their labourers, with the few 
tradesmen who supplied their simple wants. The little 
place had been utterly neglected by Dissent as well 
as by the Church but the awakening of spiritual life 
in Wantage roused the nonconformists to action, and 
it seemed probable that a meeting house would be 


built in the village which would certainly have been 
thenceforward lost to the Church. The vicar, how- 
ever, forestalled them. He secured a suitable site, 
applied to his friend Mr. Butterfield for plans for a 
simple brick church to be built at a cost of 200, 
and on 27th April, 1848, the first stone was laid 
by his mother. The church was dedicated to the 
Holy Trinity, and was opened in August of the same 
year. A school soon followed. The plan for Charlton 
church, together with other parochial matters, is 
mentioned in a letter to Bishop Wilberforce. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, November 18, 1847. 

MY LORD, The result of our confirmation has been most satis- 
factory, so far, at least, as one can judge, both as regards the 
confirmed and the rest of the congregation present. Several 
of the latter said that it was to them like being confirmed over 
again themselves. One of our lawyers told me that he had 
forgotten all about his own confirmation, but this he never 
should forget as long as he lived. About 70 of the confirmed 
have become communicants, and on Oct. 31, when I administered 
the Sacrament, 180 were present. This seems to give an opening 
for a better state of things, and to justify a weekly Communion, 
which I for one, and the rest of our cleric party, most earnestly 
desire. On the Sunday which I mentioned we were in 
church till near half-past two, which alone seems to make 
a change of some kind needful. I should propose a weekly 
Communion at some early hour, as eight o'clock, except on the 
first Sunday in each month, when I would keep to the former 
time, viz. after the morning service. Will you kindly write me 
a word in reply to this ? 

Butterfield has given me drawings for a church, or rather a 
piece of a church, with room for about 90 people, which can 
be built for 120, and which will have an ecclesiastical character. 


I think also that I can get a morsel of land off a little green 
on which to build it. The building is contrived so as to receive 
more wall, a chancel, tower, and good windows whenever money 
comes to pay for them. 

I shall have to trouble your Lordship again with the result 
of the deliberations of the School Committee. I thought we 
might resolve on some memorial to the Government, requesting 
assistance, but declining it under the present arrangements 
on account, firstly, of the indefiniteness of the words spiritual 
and secular as used of a school, and, secondly, of the advantage 
of an arbiter in all cases, than whom none can be so fitting for 
the members of the Church as their Bishop, and expressing also, 
if it can be done without offence, the danger which we see of 
the management passing from Church hands under the clauses 
of the Privy Council. 



MY DEAR SIR, I have no objection to your proposal of a 
monthly Communion at the morning service, and an early 
Communion on the other Sundays; 1 but shall thank God if I 
hear from you that the attendance justifies fully the attempt. It 
is my own practice in my chapel here. 

Your temporary church plan seems a very good one; and 
the deliberations of your School Committee appear to me to 
be wise, saving only that I think you should first ask assistance 
simply ; then, if the objectionable management clauses come, 
object. Most likely they will yield ; if not, present a memorial 
to Government, and the National Society on the final refusal ; 
and perhaps a petition to Parliament. Lord John seems 
determined to break by simple insults his truce with the Church. 

1 In the "Parish Journal" for May 7, 1848, appears this entry : 
" Early Communion (13). I am not sure whether this will answer 
or do harm, upsetting the regular course which was so prosperous 
by the blessing of God. I trust that as we undertook this for the 
benefit of some of our parishioners who certainly had a right to claim 
it, that He will rule it for the best. It is a very serious step, more 
serious than perhaps at first sight appears. It seems like the beginning 
of a great work." 


The next letters show how readily he accepted new 
responsibilities rather than forego a principle or miss 
an opportunity. The Rev. T. Archer Houblon had 
offered 1000 to build a chapel for the workhouse, 
on condition of its being consecrated. After much 
opposition this was effected, and St. Michael's on the 
Downs, designed by Mr. Butterfield, became a 
permanent chapel of ease to Wantage. 


August 11 [1848]. 

I trust you will excuse my troubling you with this note on the 
subject of a chapel we are desirous of building for the benefit of 
the poor in the Wantage workhouse, and which is very much 
needed. But the Bishop will not consent to consecrate without 
we secure the permanency of the performance of the duty in it, 
and this we can only do by making it a chapel of ease to Wantage, 
though there is little doubt but that the Board of Guardians will 
continue their present salary to a chaplain. We have already 
obtained the consent of the Dean and Chapter to this, but do not 
like to take any steps in the good work till we have yours. 
Should you really have no objection to our placing the chapel on 
this footing, would you let me know at your earliest convenience, 
as, though we cannot commence the building this year, we might 
[be] collecting and preparing the materials, and fixing on the plan, 
so as to be ready to commence early in the Spring. 




seemed determined on building a room, to be licensed as a 

chapel, by public subscriptions, wanting me to head them with 
one of a hundred pounds. I am, however, resolved to abide by 
the original agreement, and not to give anything unless for a 
consecrated building. 


He was then and always in close touch with the 
Bishop whom he consulted at every important point 
in his work. The Bishop from the first perceived 
that in William Butler he had a man of no common 
gifts ; and he strengthened his hands by every means 
in his power. Extracts from Bishop Wilberforce's 
letters will illustrate this. 


CUDDESDON PALACE, Feb. 10, 1848. 

It has occurred to me that it might aid your work if I could 
come and ordain your deacon at Wantage on the Ember Sunday. 
I cannot absolutely promise this, but tell me whether you would 
like it. 

61 EATON PLACE, March 10 [1848]. 

I approve entirely of your proposed missionary scheme except 
that I think collecting only through the offertory will not 
answer. I think the habit of subscribing good, and our people 
will not be ready to give besides their offertory offering to this at 
the offertory. Either, therefore, your common alms or these will 
suffer. I have no objection to your receiving any extra gifts 
as you propose; but I do not think that you will effect your 
purpose if you limit your gifts to that. 

The next letter alludes to the arrangements for the 
ordination to be held in Wantage church, and to 
difficulties connected with the National schools. 


5 WHITEHALL PLACE, March 4 [1848]. 

I do not think it will be well to alter the service. A sermon is 
ordered and the litany ; the morning prayer thus shortened is not 

I think, especially after last night's debate, you had better get 
your committee to agree to a short letter (as he has said, "propose 
your arrangements," etc.) to this effect. Propose any clause, A, 


B, C, D, as you please, changing as little as possible, and merely 
adding, "and that the Bishop of the Diocese be the visitor of the 
said school." 

Of course, I cannot but be glad to see any friends you may like 
to invite ; specially such an one as Keble. 

I will settle with the Archdeacon about a sermon. I shall be 
glad if well to preach once at least myself. 

Do not let the Union Chapel sleep. C. Buller said to me, " I 
do not know what you want done, but / will do it." It is a pity to 
lose such an humour. . . . 

The ordination held at Wantage, March 1848, is 
thus described in the Life of Bishop Wilberforce, 
vol. ii., p. 8 (1881). 

You ask about Wantage ; it was quite a pleasant visit. I got 
there about 4 P.M. We had a large gathering of neighbours, 
clergy. Tea and then to a meeting of Church of England mis- 
sions. Next morning service at ten. It is a noble red [sicl old] 
cruciform church, and the chancel all nicely restored by the 
present vicar. It was crowded by a most attentive people. I 
preached to them on " The sufficiency of God," and I never saw a 
congregation more hushed into earnest and devout attention. 
All through the ordination there was the deepest attention. I 
administered the Holy Communion to 160, amongst them a large 
number of young people whom I confirmed here last year. We 
went home to dinner at three a party of clergy, some from 
Oxford, some from the neighbourhood. At four we went to after- 
noon service, and Archdeacon Clerke preached. At seven we 
went to an evening litany and sermon, and I preached to them. 
We had some talk in the evening, an eight o'clock prayers next 
morning, and after breakfast I came away. Butler is working his 
parish with admirable diligence and, at present, success. He 
seems to me more to combine the good of the Evangelical party 
with the devotion of the High Church than almost any young 
man I know. His only danger is on the latter side. 

Another work undertaken at this time was the 
closing of the churchyard, which was overcrowded, 


and in the heart of the town. With the consent 
of the Dean and Chapter of Windsor half an acre 
of glebe was allotted for a cemetery, on which a 
chapel was built. A new vicarage also had become 
a necessity. The old dilapidated structure was 
taken down, traces of Elizabethan building being 
found in the timbers of the roof ; and a new 
vicarage, designed by Mr. Gr. E. Street, was built 
on the north-west side of the church. The same 
year saw the building of a girls' school, of which 
Mr. Woodyer was the architect. This was opened 
on the 29th July, 1850. 

The two letters which follow describe the opening 
of St. Augustine's Missionary College at Canterbury, 
a great event in the Church history of the time. 
The rest of the correspondence speaks for itself. 


[July 4, 1848.] 

I have been at work this morning, positive external work ever 
since half-past six, and now it is nine. This, therefore, will be 
two pennyworth for you, for I am anxious, if possible, to give 
you some idea of the doings of the last few days. In the first 
place then, on Wednesday night at eight o'clock, V. and I left 
Faringdon Road; at Slough got in three men, apparently Eton 
masters, bound on the same errand as ourselves. We did not 
however socialise, though one turned out next day to be Abraham 
or Abram, to whom I was introduced by friendly Woodard. 
Then I went to Clifton Place, and thence after some consideration 
to the Adelaide Hotel, London Bridge, where I slept for exactly 
three hours, rising at four. I was rejoiced, by the way, to find 
that I can wake without being called. I slept just over the short 
passage to old London Bridge, near a great church clock where a 
church was once, and a church still standing of the respectable 


C. Wren date. Under the same roof were Vincent, Mozley, Wood- 
ard, and lots more. I was off first in the morning with W., and 
arriving at station just at five, found it thronged with acquaint- 
ances and friends, new and old, some cassockt 1 and capt as 
Chamberlain and Patterson, some great-coated and plaided as 
myself and Marriott, all with little bags in their hands containing 
their ' robes.' Hope looking about through his spectacles, Lady 
Mildred and a select few females all in high spirits, Bishops like 
blackbirds, Archbishop with suite of rosy low church chaplains 
and purple flunkies, S. Oxon in full and fat fig, H. Wilber- 
force, Trench (by the way it is very curious how the Bishop and 
he have communicated to each other expression of voice, look, 
and language), with crowds more of all kinds. I was in a car- 
riage with Henry Wilberforce, Patterson, C. Marriott, and 
Crawley of Littlemore, and the conversation was very agreeable. 
I taxed H. W. with his familiarity with K. Shuttleworth. He 
looked a little, I thought, ashamed, but got off somehow. There 
was something on the line, the removal of which caused delay, 
and we did not go over fast. Arrived in Canterbury, more faces 
presented themselves, for we had stopped at Ashford and Tun- 
bridge to take men in. Masters, Balston, Tritton, J. M. Heath, 
Flint, etc. It was raining hard, and we had a somewhat muddy 
run to the College, a mile and a half distant. I was very near 
missing the consecration, for fancying that all the men in the 
train were invited thereto, I stayed chatting with them at the 
station. Luckily I lighted on some gent in a fly, who conveyed 
me part of the way ; and at last I found myself in the College 
Hall, this, too, filled with men Webb, Scott, Vaughan, Blakesley, 
Mr. Keble, Geo. Williams, Thompson of Trinity, Lord Powis, 
Mr. Puller, Monro, D. Coleridge, Pollen, etc. I was too much 
excited to see much. Things just lay on the retina of my eyes 
without making an impression, just as words will fall on the ear 
sometimes and you cannot bring the mind to realise them. I 
heard people talking, how this was the old oak roof preserved, 
and I could feel the general effect, but this was all. After a long 
delay we were summoned by name, Mr. Keble to my intense joy 
first of all, before Deans, Archdeacons, Schoolmasters, 'Apostles,' 

1 This form of the past tense was much used by Cambridge men of 
that date, under the influence of the Hares. 


Poets, Lords temporal, Ecclesiologists, or College tutors (there 
were no Heads of houses !). Then all in turn. With eleven others I 
was placed in the little Sacrarium facing the Archbishop's Throne. 
All the stalls were filled by men and the Antechapel by Lady 
Mildred Hope and her party. Then came up Archbishop and six 
or seven Bishops, Bishop of Brechin among them, the Archbishop 
and Gloucester alone remaining in the Sacrarium ; and consecra- 
tion service began by the procession up and down the chapel of 
the Archbishop, Bishops, and officiating clergymen. The service 
was very poor, and in some respects jarring. . . . However, I 
don't want to talk of this, but merely to give you my entire feel- 
ings. Then it was very slow to have no chanting, no organ, and 
to see all the black gowns on so joyous an occasion. One or two 
other things put me out a little, as you know tightly strung 
feelings are very apt to be easily jarred. The collection was 
noble, 3000 ; 2000 sent by one unknown contributor, 500 by 
another. Service concluded at a quarter to eleven, and then I 

went to and got a very minute portion of food, though in 

a fainting state. . . . After a time H. W. and Mary "VV. came in, 
and Mrs. Manning and Miss Byles afterwards, so that we went 
forth a large party to the Cathedral. By this time the close was 
teeming with people, and when the doors of the Cathedral opened 
a very disgraceful rush and scramble took place, some literally 
racing up the nave to get seats in the choir. There was a great 
squeeze at the entrance and up the steps of the choir. (Do you 
understand that the choir screen of Canterbury is raised on a 
noble flight of steps 1 ) Those present in the morning had 
reserved seats, so that I was fairly placed in the stalls. The choir 
presented a most striking appearance, from numbers and variety 
of costume ; but there was no separation of clergy and laity, all 
were in a dense mass mingled together. Women in the Stalls, 
laity in the Sacrarium, etc. There was a fine sound of many 
voices in the Psalms, etc.; and the anthem was a favourite of 
mine, Handel's " How beautiful are the feet," etc. . . . 

WANTAGE VICARAGE, July 5, 1848, 

I think I left off at the Cathedral after the rush. It was a very 
fine sight, only one wished to have the Archbishop on the steps 
outside the choir, haranguing the multitude in the nave. The 
sermon was slow but harmless ; I could catch nothing of it but a 


few texts here and there, and certain technicalities of expression. 
Still, he uttered the word Church several times, and the text told 
its own tale "Make known by the Church." The singing 
was good and hearty from the mass of voice. But the whole 
tone of the Cathedral is very unsatisfactory, and confirms my 
Chartist views. I slept out most of the sermon, and I believe 
many others were nodding also. A collection, not in the 
offertory, but by gents at the door, ludicrous enough it seemed 
to see men with plates at the Cathedral door. E. Hawkins 
was one, and I think Fagan, and others. . . . Then came 
luncheon in the Cloisters and Museum of the College, pre- 
ceded by wandering about the rooms. Everyone was there. 
Bishop of Oxford, with Trench on one and Allies on the other 
arm, Henry and Mary Wilberforce, Cyril Page, Pollen and sister, 
Patterson and ditto, Puller, with whom I had some talk, old 
Eandolph, the Dean of Hereford, with whom I fraternized. 
Everyone save Hope and Butterfield, neither of whom I saw. 
The clergy were in various costumes, some with cassocks, some 
without. Women folk plainly drest as became them. I made an 
attempt, but failed, to catch the four o'clock train, but I didn't 
care, for I thereby caught afternoon service in Cathedral. . . . 
No preachment in the afternoon, which was slow. One longed 
for a few good earnest words spoken from the heart. But they 
didn't come. After service, V., B., sisters and I went to see St. 
Martin's, a most interesting relic as you know, lately restored in 
good style, admirably placed on a rising knoll. By this time we 
had to run for it to catch the half-past-seven train, which how- 
ever we did catch, and I found myself in a coupe with 
Humphry, Lord Nelson, and J. Mozley. This gave a pleasant 
journey to London where we arrived at eleven. Even then I 
saw one more, even Mrs. Keble in her cab, and had a kind 
greeting from her. . . . The streets of Canterbury won't forget 
the gathering in a hurry. They say that 1000 clergy were 
present. I should have said that about 500 was nearer the 
truth, but it is difficult to be accurate. I heard one rough- 
looking fellow say to another, " I wonder what all these parsons 
costs to keep." This was an obvious though not very kind 
remark. But it made me ponder a little, not exactly how much 
they cost to keep, but a few other points connected with it. 



WANTAGE VICARAGE, August 29, 1848. 

MY DEAR ARCHDEACON, I too have been purposing to write 
to you to express, or try to express, the deep thankfulness with 
which I look back on your short abode with us, and the support 
which your words gave to opinions (or I should rather say a 
belief), which have long been growing up in my mind. 

It has seemed to me that our Church, having weathered the 
difficulties attending the statement of the true Faith in regard to 
the two great means of Grace, has been enjoying a kind of 
ovation, and if I may say so, running riot in the glorious views 
which open themselves as consequences. So then that we have 
been neglecting, as a bod}% the sterner and more practical, and 
that we (of course especially the clergy) are greatly needing a 
higher standard of religious aiming, deeper spirituality, stricter 
ocnc?7cris, a life more regulated by definite calculation of the worth 
of acts. Really, often I think that in this the " High Church " 
school is left behind by the "Evangelical." The evangelical 
party seem more saturated with spirituality. In order then to 
give this higher tone we are mercifully led on to that which will 
put the Church as much before itself in practice as the true 
doctrine of the sacraments, etc., has advanced her in the faith, 
viz. confession and absolution. We seem to be gradually drifting 
on to this, and so, as the channel of perfection, Satan has guarded 
this with especial care. 

I feel so very deeply the peculiar nature of the difficulties 
which beset this subject, and yet on the other hand, the absolute 
necessity of bringing it forward, that I am more perplexed than 
I can say; I am terrified when urging my parishioners to more 
frequent communion and the like without adding this as a pre- 
liminary, and yet I feel very fearful lest by clumsiness, lack of 
otKovofua, misuse of words, or what in effect is the same, the 
use of words, in themselves right enough, but misunderstood and 
so conveying a false impression, I should be the means of 
scandal. Of one thing I seem certain, that it cannot properly be 
urged but by a confessing clergy, and here I think we shall find 
no small difficulty. The pain and trouble will make men recoil 
from this in practice, who will gladly admit the theory as well 
as other Church views. . . . 

1853 CORRESPONDENCE, 1848 67 

How one longs that the halo of romance, so to say, were removed 
from confession, and it became a regular common-place part of 
Christian life. This would save what now causes so much need- 
less pain, that, I mean, connected with self-consciousness. 

This difficulty has occurred to me, and I should be glad to have 
it solved. Is it not somewhat unnatural, if not wrong, that any 
one, even a confessor, should know more of a married woman 
than her husband knows, and might not the neglect of this fact 
have been in some measure the cause of the laxity which has 
obtained abroad in the matter of marriage 1 

I assure you, with many thanks for your great kindness in 
thinking about me, that I do take care of my health, and (at least 
since Lent) I have generally made out about six hours of sleep. 
And I have lately been enjoying a most reposeful ten days of 
reading and writing at Glympton, 1 than which never was schemed 
a more fitting hospital for decayed parsons. . . . Charlton 
Chapel is working well. 


H. V., August 3, 1848. 

At last Harrison has sent the sketch of the font which he 
proposes, and I forward it for your consideration. To our 
idiotical eyes it looks as if it would do very well. Will you 
kindly return it to him with any remarks upon itself or the 
manner in which you would wish it wrought, by whom, in what 
material, etc., as soon as convenient to 11 Chancery Lane ? 
[Now, before I say the next thing, I put you upon your 
honour if the subject were a fit one, as perhaps it is, I would 
put you upon something more sacred not to go one farthing 
beyond what you had before intended to apply to this purpose ; 
and I say the same to kind Mr. Freeman, to whom I ought 
rather to give something costly for the use he has been of 

to . Now if you promise me this in your heart, you 

may read on ; if not, it will be like breaking one's seal.] The 
cost will be about thirty pounds. I really grudge taking it 
from Wantage, especially as I see no immediate prospect of 
being able to make an offering there. But you were so kindly 

1 His father-in-law's country house. 


earnest I could not but thankfully say yes, only it is very 
possible that things may have arisen since which might draw 
your gift, if it were free, elsewhere ; and, in one word, I trust 
you will consider it free. 

We hope to be ready by St. Matthew's Day, but are as 
yet scarcely able to propose it to the Bishop. Pray come if 
you can, and bring Mrs. Butler. I daresay you will have to 
put up with some strange extempore accommodations, but 
that you will not mind. We mean to invite as few as we can 
from a distance, that our own people may have room. But it 
will be a loss not to have our especial benefactors, and there 
will be plenty of room for them. 

I feel as I write that it ought to make one very thoughtful 
having to do with such a work. One may hope that one's 
friends are thoughtful for one. . . . 

Judge Coleridge tells me of a long talk which he has had 
with your Bishop about this bill for people marrying two 
sisters. It seems to me very shocking, and that his taking 
part in it, which he seems inclined to do, will be especially 
sad and scandalous. I mention it in case you should be able 
and willing to influence him in any way. . . . 


August 21, 1848. 

I ought long ago to have answered your very kind letter, 
especially as I do trust to be able to be with you on St. 
Matthew's Day. We admired Mr. Harrison's design very much, 
and returned [it] to him immediately, that it might be taken in 
hand. It is not worth while now to explain to you certain 
points connected with the donorship of it, but perhaps I ought 
to say this (and I hope you will not object to the change), 
that having sounded - , and finding that he did not, as I 
expected, spring to meet me, from poverty not will consenting, 
I made another arrangement, viz. to offer it from the Wantage 
clerics, male and female. ... I thought of a few words 
underneath the plinth or shaft (i.e. on the side of the font 
which touches the ground), and consequently entirely hidden, 

i853 CORRESPONDENCE, 1848 69 

to express that the font was a gift from the Priests, Deacon, 
and Eeligious of Wantage to the Hursley church, just for the 
purpose of fixing the feeling. But I do not care at all about 
this, if, as is very probable, you may think it objectionable. I 
thought of this 

Ecclesiffi Parochial! 


In agro Hursliensi? 

Hunc Fontem, Lavacrum Regeneratiouia 

In honorem D.N. J.C. 

Gratis animis 

D. D. D. 

Presbyteri, Diaconus, Lectores? Sorores? 

Ecclesise S.S. Petri et Pauli 

Indigna familia? 

Apud Wantagiam. 


I think that I see you smiling at this. Pray correct it, if you 
like the idea. It is not easy to express in ecclesiastical Latin 
some of our present relations. Or perhaps I ought to say I 
am too ignorant of terms to find it easy. We had the Arch- 
deacon M[anning] with us for a few days in the week before 
last. He was celebrant for us at the opening of a little 200 
chapel which we have just built in an outlying hamlet. 

I believe, though I dread to say it, that all things at Wantage 
by God's blessing are prospering, and gradually moving forward 
in the right direction. But how keenly one begins to feel the 
absolute necessity, if we are to get on farther, of a regular and 
so to speak common-place system of confession. Between that 
and anything else, e.g. parochial visiting, friendly relations 
between clergy and farmers, and all the rest, which some Bishops 
and all 'safe and practical' people incessantly urge as the per- 
fection of parish management, it seems to me that there is all the 
difference between playing at things and real earnest work; that 
the one is a mere evasion, the other the true Church system, 
whose pain, like children dreading to have their teeth pulled out, 
men urge every excuse to escape. I feel this more strongly 
every day, while communicants are increasing with us, as 
everywhere else, to an almost startling extent. ... I have 
got the evidence before the Marriage Committee, and I will 


endeavour to study it sufficiently to write to our Bishop, who has 
invited all his clergy to communicate with him on the subject. 
I declined before, for I had no means of supporting by argument 
my natural feelings, and I saw a danger in expressing them 
without this. 


HPRSLEY VICARAGE, Oct. 6, 1848. 

Our consecration is fixed for the 24th instead of the 18th on 
account of the Chancellor's visitation. I trust this will make no 
difference to your coming. The Bishop has kindly permitted us 
to have the Holy Communion. The clergy to bring their gowns ; 
service at eleven o'clock. 

I have as yet, I am sorry to say, but very faint notions of the 
' preaching ' for which I proposed to retain you and others in that 
week. My difficulties are chiefly these two : the dark nights 
through which the people will have to tramp to the church, and 
my being myself engaged on somewhat of a similar task in Leeds 
on the Eve of All Saints and on All Saints Day. If we do 
manage it, I thought the subjects ought to be such as would come 
under this head, viz. : 'The Church and her Services as a 
Preparation for Eternity.' Could you without much trouble dis- 
tribute this into eight or nine heads, for the day and following 
days till the 31st inclusive, the 31st being All Saints Eve? (I say 
eight or nine because of the Sunday.) And you might take any 
one you pleased. 

I am quite delighted at the thought of your both coming. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Oct. 17 [1848]. 

I am very stupid, and though I have been considering your 
thesis for some time, I cannot satisfy myself with any result of 
my thoughts. Would you take such a line as that of making the 
(1) penitential, (2) joyous, (3) peaceful, (4) praiseful, (5) constant, 
(6) satisfying, character of the Church services, and then connect 
each with the church fabric? 


I would try either (1) or (5). But I hope that you would not 
think of such a weak arrangement, and that if you want me at 
all, you will order me to what you like. 

We are in the midst of a huge town fair, fortunately only 
annual, but it troubles us a good deal, tempting communicants 
and upsetting our schools. 

Up to this point the course of the vicar's life at 
Wantage had been fairly smooth. It would be im- 
possible indeed that such radical changes as he 
sought to make in the church and parish should 
not provoke some opposition, but, all things con- 
sidered, his parishioners accepted them with much 
greater quietness than could have been expected. 
This was owing to various causes. In the first 
place, he found a genuine Church-feeling and tradition 
in the people, although it had been buried for many 
years in neglect and apathy. He used in after-years 
to cite, as an instance, the fact that on .Good Friday 
there had always been a celebration of Holy Com- 
munion largely attended. He noticed also that the 
elder generation of the women used to curtsey at the 
Gloria. The daily services he established were at once 
attended by some old men and women with regu- 
larity. In fact, although the Church had been idle, 
Dissent had not stepped into the breach, and there was 
a general feeling that the parson should be supported. 
Then, although he came full of energy and enthus- 
iasm to the work, he did nothing rashly or violently. 
He did not suddenly change the hours of service or 
force startling novelties of ritual on a congregation 
incapable of understanding them. What he found 
good he kept, and was content to wait until he had 


trained the young generation up to a higher standard. 
The services he introduced were supplementary to those 
already in use, and he was careful to draw the dis- 
tinction between what was essential and what was not. 
Thus, as late as June 1865, he wrote in the 
" Parish Journal." 

A long conversation with makes me very doubtful as 

to the propriety of continuing the choral Sunday morning ser- 
vice after Sunday next. He is a good, sensible man, and disposed 
to Church feeling. He assures me that most of his class in the 
congregation [i.e. the class just above the tradespeople] are dis- 
quieted by it. They do not object to choral service once in a 
month, but it is the constancy of it which worries them. I do 
not think that it would be right to force an arrangement through 
which, however in itself more perfect and desirable, is yet against 
the feeling of such people as these. All that can be done is to 
work steadily forward towards educating their minds, and giving 
them a love and taste for better things. When this is done, the 
other will follow. Until it is done, any such advance in ritual 
will defeat its own object. 

This wise moderation and caution bore fruit in 
the general acceptance of his system. Meanwhile 
he was working hard to influence the younger 
members of his flock. 

He did not confine himself to collective teaching. 
Over and over again notices occur in his " Parish 
Journal " of personal interviews with individuals, 
both old and young, whom he sought to bring to 
a better way. His attention was not devoted to 
purely ecclesiastical objects, but he threw himself 
into business relating to the town. In his first 
year he began to make proposals for a better drain- 
age system, for sanitary matters had been sadly 


neglected at Wantage, with the result that out- 
breaks of typhoid fever were frequent. He also took 
an active part in getting the town lighted by gas. 
He was most regular in attending all meetings of 
the town governors and commissioners. But a 
time was at hand when he would meet with violent 
opposition and bitter hostility ; and this was due 
to causes for which he was not responsible. 

The history of the Wantage Sisterhood is told in 
another place in this book, so it will be sufficient to 
say that at this time, 1850, although it was already a 
most valuable auxiliary to the vicar in the parish, 
he was not its spiritual director. His friend, Arch- 
deacon Manning, whom he thoroughly trusted, rilled 
that post. 

The year was an eventful one for the Church of 
England. The Gorham judgement had shaken the 
faith of many of her children, and numerous seces- 
sions to Rome followed. The Mother Superior, Miss 
Lockhart, was one of those who forsook the Church 
at this crisis, accompanied by one of the Sisters ; 
and their secession was followed by that of Arch- 
deacon Manning. 

This was a heavy blow to the vicar. Apart from 
the probability of his being held responsible for 
the secession of the Sisters, which the outer world 
would consider as the practical outcome of his 
teaching, the defection of Archdeacon Manning, an 
older man than himself, and one to whom he had 
turned for counsel and advice, would be a grievous 
shock to his confidence. The Gorham judgement 


itself gave him intense pain. If ever lie wavered 
and felt doubtful as to his position as a member 
of the Church of England, it was then. Not that 
he for one moment contemplated joining the Church 
of Eome; but he was shaken in his faith in his 
own Communion. 

His correspondence with Mr. Keble reveals his 
own perplexities and fears, which, however, never 
caused him to slacken for an hour in his strenuous 
efforts to carry on the work for souls to which he 
had been called. 


H. V., 3 Th. in Lent, 1850. 

There is thought of trying a sort of Brotherhood in Plymouth 
or Devonport, and some persons have agreed to act for a time 
in that way, under parochial authority of course; but two 
material things are as yet unprovided a Rule and a Superior. 
Can you help us at all towards either? I mean, could you 
send us any written rules which you have tried yourself, or 
know to have been tried, in cases at all similar; and do you 
know of any one who either now or after Easter could and 
would go down to take the lead in the matter and whom you 
would recommend ? A person who is in many respects very 
unfit has promised to go for a month after Easter if no better 
can be found, but he is most desirous to find a good 

I trust you have had much help and comfort in what I see 
has been going on in your parts. 1 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, March 2 [1850]. 

I rejoice much in the hearing of that Devonport move. 
From my own experience I fear that I can say little likely 

1 I.e. one of Bishop Wilberforce's Diocesan Missions. 

1853 ANXIETY 75 

to help. But if I might suggest one danger I should fear, and 
think it most needful to guard against, a certain scornfulness 
and superciliousness which I seem to trace not unfrequently 
among those engaged in high and holy works. Might not 
some rule be drawn out in regard to dealing and conversing 
with those who are without? Also I would, though you pro- 
bably know them much better than I, mention the Hours, 
translated by Albany Christie. I have found, as I think, 
great advantage for myself in using the Latin Hours, and I 
cannot imagine anything which can take their place. 

The sisters at St. Mary's Home use the Hours in English. 
Our Bishop, I believe, saw them and made no objection. Indeed, 
why should he? There is, as you know, very little to alter, 
for the simple reason that they are catholic. The only other 
thing that strikes me is that a sort of "Fundamentum" should 
be laid, after the manner of St. Ignatius, so that the. brethren 
might fairly grasp the "quid nocet" and "quid prodest" argu- 
ment. This would reconcile them to inferior places, etc. 

I should like very much to have a word from you in reply 
to this query. Will not the institution of Gorham (convicted 
of heresy), in accordance with a decree of the Privy Council, 
vitiate the whole position of the English Church ? Is it enough 
to say this is an unjust law and must be altered? And might 
not the men of old, who were bidden sacrifice to idols, have 
said just the same and so sacrificed? Ought not the Church 
to be in a position to refuse, and, if she be not, is she not 
forfeiting her office as a teacher of the Truth, and so has she 
not her candlestick removed ? I own that I feel a good deal 
frightened lest we should be sophizing. I am not at all 
unhappy at present, nor shall I be till the decree is distinctly 
pronounced and acted on. And this ought to be enough for 
the present. Yet having my pen directed Hursley-wards, it 
seems natural to "speer one question at" the vicar. 

The work of the Mission was most heart-filling. We 
gathered strength and confidence as we went on; and at 
Banbury, so far as one can judge, the effect was very deeply 
felt. On Wednesday, e.g. the last day, two hundred com- 
municants were present at eight, and at the eleven o'clock service, 
when the Bishop preacht on Perseverance, between two thousand 
and three thousand. It was a thrilling sight. We struck out 


in the evenings into the neighbouring villages, and preacht 
on Conversion, etc. The churches were everywhere filled. It 
was worth observing how readily and gladly the people answered 
the call, and however the direct object of the work might 
have succeeded, the following points are certainly gained : 

1. The orderly array of clergy in procession, duly vested 
in surplice, stole, and hood. 

2. The possibility of unity of action among men holding 
different shades of opinion, yet in the Church. 

3. The assertion of a Bishop's right to deal with the souls 
in his Diocese, and not merely with the clergy. 

4. The sight of a clergy calling loudly to repentance. 

5. The invitation to individuals to draw near for confession, 
counsel, absolution, and comfort. 


H. V., 4th Friday in Lent, 1850. 

Thank you over and over for your note on the Brotherhood. 
I hope they have got their Rule from a better and more experienced 
hand. You were not aware how very simple the information 
which I meant to ask for : such as a time table, a copy of external 
rules, etc. I am such an entire novice in such things. It has, 
however, as I hope, begun. God grant it may go on and prosper. 

I have been full of care about that Gorham case on the ground 
that you suggest, and was for instituting a suit in the Arches 
Court immediately against Mr. G. for heresy only, without refer- 
ence to Institution or anything else, which I hoped would prevent 
the Archbishop from giving him mission immediately. But it 
seems that for several reasons this cannot be done. The next 
thing will be to know exactly how far any Prelate giving him 
mission or publicly owning his doctrine taints himself with 
heresy. To this end one ought to know : (1) The exact articles 
brought against him ; (2) the exact words of Sir Herbert Jenner 
Fust's sentence ; (3) those of the sentence now pronounced, not 
as being of any force, but as possibly containing what may taint 
one acting upon it with heresy. For these documents I have 
applied to Badeley. If it appear that there is really contradiction 
of the Nicene Creed, I suppose Bishops in their Diocesan Synods, 


and Archdeacons and Eural Deans in their fractional gatherings, 
are competent to state publicly the true doctrine, to draw atten- 
tion to the contradiction of it, and to ask all other Dioceses to 
concur in demanding a Synod to put the thing to rights. I 
know not how else the truth is to be ecclesiastically vindicated. 
It is a great risk, but what else can be done 1 I have had half a 
mind to write to your Bishop about it. All honour to him for 
what he has just been doing for us for the work itself and for 
the time of doing it. How mercifully we seem to be both 
punished and relieved. . . . 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, March 11 [1850]. 

Now that the decision is fairly (or rather unfairly) promul- 
gated, I confess that my heart trembles for the results. And 
after weighing the matter in such poor way as I am able, I can 
bring myself to contemplate two alternatives only, and it seems 
to me that it is my duty either to leave the Establisht Church 
or to give up life and everything else if needful, to work towards 
her Restoration. I cannot help feeling that any course short of 
one of these must be to the soul's peril. Naturally one clings to 
the latter. The former seems most awful to me, and I shrink 
from any condition which it implies, i.e. from 'nonjuring' Scotch 
Episcopal or Roman Communion. In regard to the first I feel 
a dread of splitting, Babelising the Church. 

My immediate object for troubling you is to ask whether you 
could conveniently take me in for a night, if I can find a chance 
to leave Wantage for a day or two. It seems presumptuous to 
attempt to suggest, when heads so much wiser and hearts so 
much purer are set upon remedying this awful grievance. But I 
might privately and to you open a plan for action which occurs to 
me. My idea is that a regular organization of parishes ought at 
once to be formed, working under the Bishop wherever this is 
possible, as I think that it would be in the Diocese of Oxford; 
that a central committee, with as little demonstration or noise as 
possible, so as not to excite jealousy and talk, might act as an 
accumulator of facts and a provider of deputations, and that a 
few men might be sent about for this purpose, who would speak 


earnestly, lovingly, clearly, and truly, to the various parishes, at 
meetings to which the clergyman should admit by ticket such of 
his parishioners as would attend for the purpose of good, not to 
jeer or argue. This to be started at once, and not to cease till all 
England is [illegible]. My parishioners are hearty in the cause. 


[? March, 1850.] 

I left Hursley yesterday a happier and I hope a wiser and 
patienter man than when I entered it. I feel peace and confid- 
ence in the result of our struggle. Thank you very much for 
all your kindness. I write now (1) to enclose a line from our 
dear Bishop, (2) to ask you to print and let me have a copy of 
your Hursley petition an audacious request and a few copies 
of the Sarum Breviary prayers. 

I hear from Carter as follows : "The Bishop of 0., whom I saw 
yesterday after his return from London, where he had seen the 
Bishop of L., reports that Convocation at present is hopeless, but 
that there is good hope of getting the Archbishop to convene the 
Episcopal Bench to make a decision not on the whole subject of 
Baptismal Regeneration, but on the definite point of remission of 
original sin in Baptism and its being no hindrance to grace, to which 
point Keble narrows the ground. . . . The Bishop also reports 
that the Bishop of L. will bring in a Bill to constitute the Upper 
House of Convocation. The Court of Final Appeal, with some 
judges as assessors, to be summoned by Royal writ for the express 

In the Chichester archdeaconry ninety-two out of one hundred 
are prepared to support the move. The Archdeacon l therefore 
is in better heart. I found three more signatures at Wantage on 
my arrival to a requisition to the Archdeacon of Berks to convene 
his clergy. Every single one whom I have yet seen or heard of 
in this neighbourhood, a singularly dull one, has willingly come 
in to such a proposal. I think that we must be on our guard lest 
we get hoodwinked by some of our Right Rev. friends. I infer 
this from some touches in Carter's letter. Would it be well to 
print the " whethers " of yesterday morning ? 

1 Ven. H. E. Manning. 



H. V., Monday in Holy Week, 1850. 

I hope I have not put you out by not writing sooner. I 
rather waited for the good Doctor to be here, hoping to answer 
more satisfactorily. He says, with regard to the Convocation 
move, " All very well, if you can trust it when met." He quite 
concurs in the misgivings about our Rt. Revd. friends. For 
which reason I should think it very desirable that clerical 
movements in the sense of our resolutions, and parochial 
movements in the sense of this "petition," should be got up 
as widely and as quickly as possible. As far as I can make 
out, our people here are quite prepared to adopt this " petition," 
only there is some confusion in their honest minds about the 
Supremacy. ... I think I am, on the whole, for printing the 
" whethers," l especially if the Low Church, or any considerable 
number of them, are inclined to go with us on that point. I 
am not sure that in saying this I am not more or less influenced 
by the idea that Convocation cannot be got, but that a strong 
call made for it would have a wholesome tonic effect upon the 

Your letter was a great comfort to me. I do trust, for all 
counter-appearances, there is an immense deal of soundness in 
the heart of the English Church. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Sept. 2, 1850. 

I have read carefully the B. C. U. 2 paper, and your alterations 
(proposed). I feel very strongly with you that (II.) is most 
objectionable, (III.) I could sign as it stands, (I.) as altered to 
" as a Branch," etc. I do not feel any objection to the resolutions 
perhaps I should like to see the expression 'repudiation of 
Romanism ' modified. I suppose that we must meet somewhere, 

1 "Probably a series of questions drawn up by Mr. Keble concerning 
the right of the Privy Council to legislate for the Church, the 
grounds of their decision about Holy Baptism, and the duty of 
Churchmen at this crisis." R#v. W. Lock, D.D. 

2 Bristol Church Union vide Life of Dr. Pusey, vol. iii., p. 274, etc. 


and February is fairly distant. ... I think that it would be a 
pity to stop agitation, unless any better plan is likely to be set on 
foot immediately. I am more afraid of sleep and lotus-eater 
lethargy than of anything else. We are in a frozen atmosphere, 
and to sleep is to perish at least so it seems to me. I should 
like very much to ask you about Church Unions. They do not 
approve themselves to my mind, but so many better judges 
uphold them, that I think I must be wrong. I want to see 
Archidiaconal Unions, which would be a legitimate Church Synod, 
especially when, as would sometimes happen, the Archdeacon 
would head it. But I suppose that it is too late to talk of such an 
arrangement now that the Church Unions are in full action. 

We have been abroad to Germany to take charge of Ph. 
Pusey. ... I saw a good deal (for a short visit) of the Catholic 
clergy of the towns, and I am much struck by their friendliness 
and freedom from assumption. It felt like talking to a brother 
priest. Their tone was very different from that of some of their 
new men. One of them askt me if I used the ' Pusey ritus.' l 

The four letters which follow were written to a 
young lady whose confidence in the Church of 
England had been shaken by the Gorham judgement, 
and by its consequences in the secession to Rome 
of several of her friends. She, however, remained 
steadfast to the Church of her baptism. 

W. J. B. TO . 

[February 10, 1850.] 

... I think that I ought to say that I am not frightened 
about the Gorham case unless the decision is against the Bishop. 
I look on the committee of Privy Council as merely the arbiters 
appointed by the State to see that the Church keeps to the terms 
of the concordat between Church and State embodied in her 
formularies, as dealing, that is, merely with the establishment, 
not necessarily touching the Church. If they reverse the 

1 Many years afterwards, in 1880, a Tyrolese parson asked him, "Sind 
Sie Posuit? " He was puzzled, but I guessed the meaning and answered, 
"/a, geioiss" A. J. B. 


Bishop's decision, even then they are, supposing them to be 
honest men, only doing their duty, and we have no right to 
find fault with them, though we may find fault with our formu- 
laries as being deficient in precision, and though we may and 
must refuse to accept the decision for the Church. It will 
be the decision for the Establishment unless Parliament agrees 
to allow the Church to alter her formularies and still to 
remain the Establishment. Have I made myself comprehensible ? 

W. J. B. TO . 

[March 10, 1850.] 

... In the first place our duty is, manifestly, to wait till 
Mr. Gorham is inducted. Arius was triumphant till he died. 
And even then it must be months before we can possibly judge 
of our real condition. I am inclined, though I own not very 
much, to the side of hope. But one thing is also clear that 
we must be content to live in a struggle to our lives' end, to 
be "men of strife." That, if no worse, is sure to be our portion. 
We must fight for the truth by prayer and fasting, self-denial 
in everything, stern unflinching resolution to look at nothing 
else, be content to bear disappointment and coldness, to be 
misunderstood and hated. "The sword" has come, and we 
must not cling to "peace." . . . What a marvellous comfort- 
to be drawn from Epistle, Gospel, Lessons, and Psalms of 
this day. 

W. J. B. TO . 

WANTAGE VICAKAGE, June 12, 1850. 

. . . Next, what is the difficulty 1 It lies in this that the true 
notion of the Church is that she is the keeper of the Faith, and its 
promulgator ; that it lies with her to lay down, to rearrange, to 
define, to judge all that relates to it. Whereas now she is, it 
would seem, likely to admit a heretic to the Cure of souls, and to 
submit her decision to the revision of an extraneous and worldly 
court. Miserable truly. Yet against this set the fact that these 
evil doings are not tamely acquiesced in ; that a power is rising 
through the Church which, one may reasonably believe, will and 
must, working only in faith, prevail; that such doctrines and 
demands as were never heard of here before, have been boldly 



brought out in high places, that the stir is not over, but rather on 
the increase, and, if one may appeal to human authority, men 
like Mr. Keble and Dr. Pusey, holy, learned, clear-sighted, 
endowed with the spirit of martyrs, are far from disheartened. I 
will say nothing of the distinctive errors of Rome, nor of the evil 
dispositions which have shown themselves in those who have 
left us, apparently proving that God has not been with them, but 
one cannot help gathering from this more courage and determina- 
tion to fight the great and good fight of faith, seeing that our 
retreat is well-nigh cut off. . . . Our work is to pray for the 
Church of England without misgiving. "Believe that ye shall have 
it." To doubt is to lose our power, to bring about the very 
crisis which we deprecate. To forsake the Church of England 
now, is, in my view, to destroy that chance of unity which the 
Eomanizers so stickle for. It may be the result of the faithless- 
ness of and others that these difficulties encompass us now. 

Surely the book of Job may teach us somewhat not merely of 
patience but of a misunderstood position. He " had well-nigh said 
even as they," i.e. the talk and folly of his friends had nearly 
made him what they thought him at first, a hypocrite and sinner. 
Just as men would now make the Church of England a sham and 
an engine of Satan. 

W. J. B. TO . 

[26th Sunday after Trinity, 1850.] 

... I must in honesty say that I think our position a very 
painful one, though not the less on that account to be retained. 
I mean that since that fearful Gorham decision we are reduced to 
a negative argument. We cannot defend ourselves. We can only 
find fault with others. I am more comforted by the present 
mobbing of Puseyites than by anything else. It looks like 
reality. It is pleasant to find RC., Low Church, No Church, 
rabble, etc., all banding together to destroy that one thing which 
oneself is. ... You will be glad to hear that by God's mercy 
the good work is prospering, and that I see my way to that 
favourite idea of mine in former days, the double Sisterhood 
for Penitents and Schools. 

An address of sympathy was sent from Wantage to 
Bishop Phillpotts which he briefly acknowledged. 



Easter Eve, 1850. 

REV. SIR, Accept my sincere, however tardy, thanks for the 
address which you, and the other Clergy of Wantage, have had 
the goodness to make to me. Be assured that I feel it strongly 
to be not merely a gratification, but a support. 

I have nothing to suggest. Such men will best act, when 
opportunity shall be presented, on their own principles and 
judgement. . . . 

P.S. Your name, connected with Wantage, cannot but excite 
stirring associations. 

In talking of this troubled time, long afterwards, 
William Butler was wont to say that the rise of decided 
opposition in the parish might be dated from it. But 
secessions to Rome were not the only evil fruit of 
that disastrous year. On September 24, 1850, what 
has ever since been called " Papal Aggression " took 
place, and the Protestant feeling of the country was 
kindled into a flame by the news of the Pope having 
mapped out England into bishoprics. 

This coming close upon the secession of the Sisters 
ripened the seeds of suspicion and discontent which 
the vicar's strongly pronounced Churchmanship and 
fearless attack of abuses had sown. Those who had 
come under his rebuke for sin, as well as those who 
disagreed with his religious opinions, were glad to 
seize the opportunity which these unhappy circum- 
stances had given, to denounce him and his system. 
What made this the harder for him to bear was the 
fact that many who now went into opposition had 
been up to this time good Church people and his 


supporters. In the year 1852 the storm broke at a 
Vestry meeting, held to consider the question of the re- 
storation of the parish church. The story may be told 
in his own words taken from the "Parish Journal." 

Thursday, April 1. I must here record the first distinct 
disaster, humanly speaking, which has befallen my ministrations 
in this town. A Vestry meeting had been called after much 
consultation, to consider the restoration of the church according 
to plans prepared by Mr. Street. I felt the awkwardness of 
such a meeting when Dissenters could take a part, and more 
especially because I knew well their exceeding hostility to me. 

But prest the Yestry as the only means of getting at the 

Parish, and I think somewhat foolishly I agreed to hold it. 
I say foolishly, for since I did not ask a rate, the whole 
work might have been, and probably will be, carried through 
without their permission. However, I was very anxious not 
to appear to act in an arbitrary manner, the more as I am so 
continually accused of doing so. Still I was not prepared for 
the fierce opposition I encountered. On the previous day 
handbills had been printed and circulated, and the Crier sent 
round with his bell, and a proclamation inviting the people 
(Protestants) to come and oppose Popery, etc. Then the 
Wesleyan Preacher stimulated all within his reach, and 
gave his men half a day to come and vote at the Vestry. 
By these unscrupulous measures, for which I ought to have 
been prepared, a strong party of Dissenters of the worst kind 
were brought to the Vestry, and in a very short time it was 
packt with enemies, ready for anything. I stated my views 
and explained the plans, and was heard not unfavourably. 
Then Mr. Wasbrough proposed as a resolution, and Cooper 
seconded, that it is desirable to restore and reseat the church 
without a rate, etc. W. Dixon opposed it, 1 and then the 
clamour partially began with vociferous cheering of anything 

said against the restoration. Then of Fawley opposed 

it, not on any grounds except that he wisht to have a 

1 Tradition has handed down his opening words : " People say as 
how I be the pa'son's man ; but I bean't the pa'son's man in this here 
job." He gave 25 before the business was over. 


door to his pew. ... So of Lockinge opposed it be- 
cause of his pew. Then got up and said a great deal 

about intoning the service, etc. of Charlton spoke of the 

mummeries, flummeries, tomfooleries, and other savoury 
expressions by which he chose to designate our services. 
This brought up Trinder who, amid much interruption, took 
occasion to speak of the doings of yesterday, the Crier, the 
Rabble, etc. The word Rabble set the whole meeting by the 
ears, and he ended his speech with much difficulty. Trinder 
spoke nicely on the subject of the restoration and convincingly, 
if argument could convince such a set. After a great deal of 
noise, lasting for three hours, the proposition was put and 
negatived by a large majority. So ended this unfortunate 
Vestry. Have we prayed enough that the good work of the 
restoration be accomplisht ? All seems to me to rest on this. 

Writes an old friend : 

I happened to be staying at the Vicarage at the time, 
and remember how he came in broken down and dejected 
for the moment, and blaming himself for having made 
the attempt too soon. He had originally given himself a 
longer time, and then had not waited. I heard that at the 
meeting he was perfectly self-controlled and equal to the 
occasion. You may have heard of one famous retort at this 
meeting "Sir," said one of his opponents in a rage, "I am 
at a loss to know whether you are more knave or fool." 
"Time will show, sir, time will show," was the instant reply. 
For perhaps two or three years after, this unpopularity 
continued. I remember a rather grim joke which he was 
fond of in those days, an allusion to the cry of the French 
Revolution, a la lanterne. He used to declare that he expected 
to be hung up to one of the lamp-posts in the town, and I 
think there was a spice of earnest underlying the joke, and 
that he really was persuaded that he might meet with 
personal violence. Insulting inscriptions were chalked upon the 
walls, and Sister Harriet told me that she and another from 
the Home used to go out late at night to wash them off. 

It was a strange and troubled time, but he was not a man 
to flinch before violence. I always think the text, " I have 
set my face as a flint," fitted him, and he gained the reputation 


of being (as I have heard it said) "hard as nails," though 
there was sensitiveness and tenderness enough underneath the 
surface, as those nearest to him knew very well. ... I have 
said more than once that it was remarkably your father's lot 
to have one after another come to Wantage, begin divers 
works (which he himself would not have originated), and then 
go and leave the deserted work on his hands. This was the 

case with Miss Lockhart and Miss , and I want to ask 

whether it was not also so with Mrs ? She built St. 

Michael's and set up an Industrial School there, but I have 
never known why or how she left the work she had begun. 
At least we know that in every case he took up the deserted 
work though not of his own originating and built it up again. 

In addition to these parochial troubles he was not 
without his share of domestic sorrow. On March 14, 
1851, his eldest daughter Frances Charlotte, had died 
at the age of five, only ten days after the birth of 
another child. This was a deep and lasting grief. 1 

His Bishop's sympathy was not wanting. 


NEAR BUCKLANU, March 17, 1851. 

MY DEAR BUTLER, Thank you for your note by Balleine. 
I was truly grieved to hear its sad announcement, and feel 
deeply for you. This time of year comes to me so fully 
charged with sorrows that I can enter into the griefs of all 
others. This day ten years I walked out of our sweet 
Lavington Churchyard a desolated man. I thank God for 
the firm faith and meek resignation which He has given you 
and your wife. It is a great thing to be so upheld. May He 
never leave you nor forsake you. . . . 

1 More than thirty years later he wrote to one who had been similarly 
bereaved : " The death of one's child is like nothing else. Even 
when, after many years, the wound is more or less healed, the 
feeling always remains with one, of something being gone from 
one's life a sort of blank like the loss of a limb." 


DURING the early fifties, William Butler was much 
occupied in fighting the battle of definite Church 
teaching in parochial schools. This was involved 
in the use of the Church Catechism, for which he 
vigorously contended. It was an anxious time, 
for the National Society had shown a disposition 
to compromise, i.e. not to insist on the Catechism 
being used in Church schools, and he regarded this 
as fatal to true Church teaching. Many letters passed 
between him and some of the leading clergy of the 
day, Mr. Keble, Canon Carter, and others, who 
warmly supported his views. The following, how- 
ever, will be sufficient to illustrate his position. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Feb. 25, 1853. 

I have written to the Bishop and this is his answer : "I 
believe you know that it had been, after a division, resolved 
by the Nat. S. to offer to the Bishops a common form of 
enquiry into the late teaching in schools ; but that on a ground 
of technical correctness this decision was afterwards set aside. 

88 THE PARISH 1853 

Still queries have been sent by many in consequence of the 
promised communication from the N. S., and are being sent 
by others. The answers, I understand, so far as they have 
been sent, are very satisfactory. My advice, therefore, in the 
matter would be that at present we await the replies that 
are coming in, and that we resist all agitation until we see 
from those replies what the real state of the case is. That 
agitation has already led to the formation of an additional 
(so-called) Church Education Society in opposition to the 
N. S., one of the most threatening instruments, I think, of 
our further divisions." Were you aware of this 'setting aside' 
of which the Bishop speaks ? I for one was not, nor do I 
think that any public notification has been made thereof. This, 
if it be so, is scarcely fair and honest, and ought to be lookt 
into. Then, one desiderates some more definite knowledge 
than that 'queries have been sent by many.' By whom? 
The Bishop of Exeter, I think. They have not been sent in 
this Diocese, but possibly this may be attributed to the fact 
that we are fairly mapt out among inspectors, who, at the 
annual meeting at Cuddesdon, can bring forward, if desired, 
the very minutest details. I hope that we may escape another 
N. S. disturbance. Denison is a difficult dog to chain up, and 
the worst of it is if he sets to work the others will do the 
same, and we must go, to prevent the N. S. falling into their 
hands. I am inclined to think, or rather I feel convinced, 
that our Bishop will ' shew fight ' when once he is convinced 
that the nodus is vindice dignus. And moreover, from much 
acquaintance with him, I feel sure that he is quite reasonable, 
I mean that he is quite ready to be convinced, even against 
his own first impressions. But he is rather like the Athenians 
at Sphacteria, afraid that all is going wrong except when he 
is personally present, And, it must be owned, Denison is not 
very adroit. The only plan, or part of a plan, therefore, which 
occurs to me, is that he should be worked in all the steps 
which may suggest themselves as desirable to others. I shall 
write again to him soon and get, if I can, a more definite 
explanation of the Committee of N. S. their doings. I ought 
to say that he heads his letter to me 'Confidential,' though 
really I cannot see what there is of ' Confidential ' in it. He 
knows that you wrote to me, and that I wanted an answer 


partly for you, and therefore, of course, he does not object to 
my passing his answer on. ... 

A compromise was the result of many meetings 
and much anxious correspondence, but on the 
whole the definite Church party had the best of it. 

About this time the office of Rural Dean was 
added to his labours. 


26 PALL MALL, April 15, 1853. 

MY DEAR BUTLER, Will you undertake the charge of the 
Rural Deanery vacated by Dr. Nelson 1 You know me so well 
that I need not say one word to you as to any particulars about 
the office. Except that if in anything concerning it I can aid 
you, it will ever be a pleasure to me to do so. I am ever 
affectionately yours S. OXON. 

My affectionate remembrances to Mrs. Butler. 

With all his external work and interests the in- 
ternal affairs of his parish occupied the larger share 
of his thoughts, and indeed grew more absorb- 
ing year by year. In spite of the check he had 
received in 1852 in his attempt to get the parish 
church restored, he had by no means lost heart or 
confidence. He was content to go quietly on with 
his work, while the money gradually accumulated 
for the purpose which he felt sure he should eventu- 
ally accomplish. 

In an epitome of the year 1854 in the "Parish 
Journal" he wrote: 

This year has seen one great difficulty removed, removed 
as I believe securely, and nothing now remains to prevent the 
restoration of our church to a Christian condition except the 

90 THE PARISH 1857 

obtaining of the sum needed for the purpose. Of this we 
have in hand 1,050; with 500 more we may, without 
imprudence, begin our operations. For this much prayer is 
needed, as well as that no unkind feeling may remain, and 
so mar the work when done. 

By 1st October, 1855, he had so far won over his 
antagonists as to be able to preside at the vicar- 
age, at a meeting of influential parishioners, called to 
deliberate on the restoration of the church. By 
July 1857 this was an accomplished fact. 

July 30. A day much to be remembered, as, by God's 
mercy, an end and a beginning an end of the old degraded 
ungodly state of God's House, which could not but act for evil 
on the hearts of our folk, and the beginning of comeliness, 
fitness, and beauty. This day is indeed an ample recompense 
for much disappointment and weariness of heart, and it is, 
perhaps for the very reason of all this, the more cheering and 
sustaining. Five years ago we were all out of spirits. The 
hope of restoring our church to the beauty of holiness seemed 
almost a dream. We had no means, and the parish had set 
itself fiercely against it. Now all has been done, so far as it 
is done, well, and there is scarcely one in the parish who has 
not in some way contributed to the work. All have been 
roused to enthusiasm, and a restoration of a specially pro- 
nounced kind is so popular, that I cannot but feel and hope that 
it will in a degree affect all the churches in the neighbourhood. 

We had endeavoured to persuade the Bishop to have no 
late Celebration, but as he objected to this, of course we gave 
way at once, and arranged accordingly. We had, however, our 
usual Celebration at eight o'clock, at which some 75 attended. All 
were hard at work till eleven, when the numbers of the clergy 
began to increase. Mackonochie l had the charge of marshalling 
the clergy, and of giving those who were to assist their respective 
commissions. The arrangement of the church within fell to 
Sawyer, and Harvey had the choir. Purdue continued in the 

1 Rev. A. H. Mackonochie, afterwards of St. Alban's, Holborn. 


barn where the feast was prepared. Porter kept the decorations 

in order. Mr. of Charlton kindly lent his carriage to 

convey the Bishop, and I went in it to meet him. We had 
sent an omnibus to Wantage Road, and a van to Faringdon 
Road, and they both returned loaded with friends. A Dutch 
barn belonging to Mrs. Stroud was prepared on the vicarage 
lawn in order that the clergy might vest in it, and when the 
Bishop drove up to the vicarage nearly 100, and very soon after 
upwards of 100, were collected in order. The procession of 
clergy and choristers amounted to 160, and they advanced 
slowly to the church round the north and east sides under an 
arch of green (which had been prepared by the Rents 1 voluntarily) 
singing the 68th psalm, to the church. The day was propitious, 
and a little rain that had fallen served to make everything 
brighter and fresher. The church was quite full ; I suppose 
that upwards of 1000 were collected in it, all orderly and 
reverent. There was no bustle or confusion. The Bishop said 
the first part of the service at the Litany desk, and then 
attended by Archdeacons Randall and Clerke and by myself, 
he proceeded into the sanctuary. Nothing could be more 
beautiful than the decorations, which consisted of heavy green 
wreaths fitted into all the arches and members of the tower 
arches with festoons wherever it was desirable to cover a bare 
space. A pastoral staff was lent by Radley, and a chair and 
lectern for the Bishop by Mr. Margetts, of Oxford, from whom 
the Eagle, the gift of the curates of the parish, had been 
purchased. The "Home" provided the Litany desk. The 
service was sung by the united choirs of Lambourne and 
Wantage. All were vested in surplices. The service began 
shortly after twelve, and was fairly sung, well in parts, some- 
times but poorly, and some careless mistakes were made. The 
Bishop of course preached a very noble sermon, and the 
collection was made by ten men. It amounted to 167, which, 
with 35 in the morning and 10 in the evening, gave us 
220, a great help towards clearing off our debt. . . . The 
service was not over till four o'clock, when, after a short interval, 
the whole party adjourned to the barn in Newbury Street, in 
which accommodation and food had been provided for 700 
people. Nothing could have been more admirable than the 
1 Local builders. 

92 THE PARISH 1857 

arrangements. At the high table, which was raised considerably 
above the ground, sat Mr. Wasbrough (chairman), the Bishop, 
the Archdeacons, the Vicar, Mr. Atkins, H. Barnett, Popham, 
T. Bowles, and several ladies, while the other tables were 
stretched out before it, each under the superintendence of some 
one deputed for the purpose. All were very orderly and 
attentive, and evidently taken and even carried away with the 
event of the day. At about half-past seven we again gathered 
upon the vicarage lawn and went in procession to church. The 
Archdeacon preached, Trinder and Popham read the lessons, 
Harvey said the service as in the morning. The church was 
filled, though, from the absence of a great many of our morning 
visitors, not so fully as in the morning, but with the people 
whom one most wisht to see, our labouring people ; and 10, of 
which much was in copper, was collected. . . . The day was 
kept quite as a holiday, and many of the shops were closed. 

Thus past such a day as I cannot bring myself to imagine 
that I shall ever see again. Thanks again and again forever 
be to Him who has bountifully heard our prayer and granted 
our desire. May He now but give us strength and grace to 
carry on this work to the end, to view it but as a stepping-stone 
to higher things, to rest not till we make our parish such a 
spiritual temple as our church now is. 

One of those associated with him in the years 
immediately preceding and following the restoration 
of the parish church, the Rev. W. G. Sawyer, now 
vicar of Taplow, has given a sketch of the Vicar's 
relations with his " brethren," as he was fond of 
calling his assistant curates. 

In the summer of 1854, after having been disabled for a 
year, I happened to be in the neighbourhood of Wantage ; 
for some reason or other they were in want of help, and I 
was asked to go over for a Sunday. I went for one day, 
and stayed five and a half years. Butler was going that 
Sunday evening to preach for Milman at Lambourne; he asked 
me to go with him, and I well remember how up on the 


Berkshire Downs, he offered me the curacy vacant by the 
appointment of H. P. Liddon to Cuddesdon. Up to that time 
my acquaintance with Butler had been very slight; but in 
this way a friendship arose which has been very precious to 
me. Whatever little work I may have been able to do in the 
Church of God has mainly been the result of the training I 
received at Wantage. Important as has been the place which 
Butler occupied in the work of the English Church at large, 
he must always remain in the minds of us of the older genera- 
tion, as the Vicar of Wantage. He showed perhaps above 
any man of the period, what the Church could do among the 
mixed population of a small country town. I often think that 
it is impossible for the younger men among us to realize what 
was the condition of the Church in a place like Wantage fifty 
or sixty years ago. Butler's difficulties were immense, but 
the force of his will overcame them all; and the intense earnest- 
ness of his work won the respect of those of his parishioners 
who disagreed with him. When I first went to Wantage the 
church was still unrestored, and not very long before Butler 
had received the rebuff, which it must have been very hard 
for him to bear the refusal of a faculty for the restoration 
of the church in consequence of the opposition of some of 
the parishioners. As time went on he was thankful that 
the restoration had been postponed, because, as he often said, 
the work would not have been so satisfactorily done as it 
ultimately was. In looking back to these days, what strikes 
me perhaps more than anything else, is the patience with 
which the Vicar waited, and the patient way in which he 
dealt, not only with the people generally, but with his opponents 
in particular. Never keeping back the truth, letting every 
one know what he believed, in matters which he considered 
non-essentials it is wonderful how forbearing he was, in 
consideration for the feelings and prejudices of the people, 
and how gentle he was in word and deed. His curates were 
often impatient, and would have hurried things on, but we 
had always before our eyes his example, the example of one 
who would "quietly wait." And he had his reward. When 
the time came for the re-opening of the church by Bishop 
Wilberforce, the whole parish, with only one or two exceptions, 
rejoiced with him in the completion of a great work. I well 

94 THE PARISH 1857 

remember the enthusiasm with which the parish generally 
provided at their own cost the great luncheon which followed 
the re-opening services. He was friendly with the noncon- 
formists of the town, and, as time went on, I do not suppose 
that a more united and friendly parish could be found through- 
out the country. And this without the slightest compromise 
of principle, but from kindness of heart, and that earnestness 
of purpose which always, sooner or later, wins its way. 

In his dealings with his curates he was a model Vicar. 
Very plain spoken, and somewhat stern at times when things 
were done which he did not like, and still more so when 
things were left undone which ought to have been done, it 
was impossible not to recognize the loving heart which lay 
beneath. However hard we worked, we always had before 
us the example of one who worked a great deal harder. His 
work was essentially the work of common sense, and he hated 
fads. I know that I was at times a trial to him, but when I 
fancied myself put upon, and perhaps grumbled a little bit, 
the way in which the Vicar always put himself in the wrong 
and humbled himself before me sent me away utterly ashamed 
of myself and humiliated to the dust. Wantage was essentially 
a place of work, and in the same way as Bishop Wilberforce 
raised the whole tone of Episcopal work, so did Butler raise 
the tone of the work of the parochial clergy. And the spirit 
of work learned at Wantage was never, I believe, lost by the 
Wantage curates when they went to parishes of their own. 
Wantage did for the south of England what Leeds did for 
the north. 

The impressions of Canon Carter of Clewer, one 
of William Butler's few surviving contemporaries, 
who was much associated with him in diocesan 
work in the early years of Bishop Wilberforce's 
administration, may fitly be inserted here. 

I will gladly endeavour to give the impressions made on me 
by your dear father, and by the great part he played in the 
Church's life and work. We were contemporaries in the Oxford 
Diocese as it was being formed into a new Diocese by Bishop 


Wilberforce, your father commencing his work at Wantage in 
1846, myself at Clewer in 1844. We were, locally, rather far 
apart, and alike constantly occupied, and only touched one 
another on certain occasions, though having common aims and 
common objects at heart. It was part of Bishop Wilberforce's 
plan in moulding the Diocese into one whole, to gather together in 
his hospitable home at Cuddesdon from time to time those who 
worked under him. Those gatherings were of the happiest kind ; 
and there, together with the Bishop, we planned the Oxford 
Lent Sermons, and the missions which the Bishop held at 
different centres in the Diocese, missions, not, as now, organized 
scientifically, so to say, under two or three priest-missioners, 
but under himself, aided by several of the clergy. At 
Cuddesdon and in these missions was my chief opportunity 
of intercourse with your father. 

But this is to anticipate. My first acquaintance with him 
was after the Gorham judgement, when, together with two 
earnest sympathizers, now with him at rest in God, Milman, 
afterwards Bishop of Calcutta, and Robert Gordon, then Rector 
of Avington, we joined in pressing forward the protest made 
under Archdeacon Berens in his Synod. By that time your 
father had established his fame as a parish priest. It was 
owing to his having thus shown his power in a true Church 
line of work, that Manning, then Archdeacon, having trained 
four sisters to be the nucleus of a religious Community, fixed 
on Wantage as their home. This, in its after consequences, 
served to bring out great points of high value in your father's 
character. Manning's secession from the Church of England 
broke up this little band of Religious, the Sister-Superior and 
one of the other three following him to Rome. I remember 
well the anxiety of the crisis, and the agitating question 
of the possibility of reconstituting the work, and perpetuating 
it through those who remained faithful to their dedication. 
One cannot now adequately conceive the pressing nature of 
such an anxiety at a time when all around was filled with 
distrust, and Sisterhoods among us were but in their infancy. 
We all feared that there could be little hope of pursuing 
what had been so earnestly begun. But then your father's 
endurance and trust, his moral energy and courage and practical 
wisdom, were seen; and one rejoiced with him in being able 

96 THE PARISH 1851 

to re-establish the Community out of the apparent wreck, so 
as to become, under his care, so prosperous and valuable a 
Society as it has long been growing with its widely extended 
works. It was a crowning instance of what seems to have 
been one of your father's prominent characteristics, that what 
he set his mind to accomplish he could not fail to carry through. 

Our Church life at that period, and for many years afterwards, 
was a scene of constant progress among those who were bent 
on sustaining what had been gained, or reviving what had 
been lost and was still wanting. I suppose it was the variety 
of mind, each with its own plans and prepossessions, acting in 
different ways and under different circumstances, yet with 
common desires at heart, to which is due, under God's mercy, the 
amount of success which has attended the manifold efforts of 
past years. Much depended on the view taken of what was 
due to authority a true note of Catholic life much on 
individual tendencies, and partly also on local circumstances, the 
issue being, whether or no to join societies then forming and work 
in common with others, or to do one's best alone with one's own 
separate opportunities. Your father's strong personality and 
trust in his power and energies, with a great unwillingness to 
be hampered by other minds or to be dependent on other agencies, 
led him to take the latter course. There was a further influence 
evidently telling upon him in the same direction. He seems 
to have always kept true to what are known as Tractarian 
principles, under which he had grown up, and a sense of what 
is due to authority was an important element among the 
lessons taught us by the great leaders of that movement. Your 
father, whose mind was always resting on great principles, was 
influenced by this feeling far more than many among us. This 
evidently governed his conduct in the course of the struggles 
which went on during his time year after year. 

This sense of authority, as a habit of mind, and a sufficient 
law of life, appeared constantly in matters of greater or less 
importance. He was once asked to attend a temperance 
meeting and to speak. The tenor of his words was, "What 
can one need more than what the Church Catechism teaches 
as to temperance and soberness ?" The promoters of the cause 
who desired to press total abstinence as the means of furthering 
temperance said he had spoilt the meeting. He could only 


recognise the one straight course, sufficiently, as he thought, laid 
down for us all. 

I was at Wantage in early days at some of the great gatherings 
held in order to celebrate your father's parochial achievements. 
I often since heard details of his work which have been full of 
lessons to others. It was, as we supposed, Mr. Gladstone's 
appreciation of his faithfulness, his thoroughness, his powerful 
energy in the Church's work, which led to his being raised 
to other spheres and higher dignities. I have of late years 
been able only to follow him in thought with thankfulness for 
what he has been enabled to do in his ceaseless activities. We 
have rarely met, each being very fully occupied in our separate 
ways. I remember your father as one of my earliest friends 
and fellow-workers during an eventful period, and the remem- 
brance of what he was and what he has done remains as the 
witness of the greatness of his aims, and of the truth and 
reality which have always marked his course, and must for ever 
embalm his memory. 

Most of the correspondence of this period relates 
to ' burning questions,' the ashes of which are still 
warm. The letters here given are on more general 



WANTAGE VICARAGE, Feb. 14, 1855. 

. . . How strange it is to find life gradually ebbing away, 
and yet to feel no older, weaker, or less full of interests, than 
when some seventeen years ago, our dear F. and you and I used 
to interchange our ' cracks ' between Southgate and Trinity. Of 
course I don't mean that plenty of events have not occurred to 
alter the channel of thoughts and interests, but that the power of 
being interested and engrossed in these old and new objects 
exists with the same force as ever, and makes it still as difficult 
as ever to realise that death is stalking after us, and gaining daily 
upon our footsteps. And still it seems as hard as ever not to 
struggle after a sense of present security from future possibilities 
and contingencies, and not to long after that state of worldly 

98 THE PARISH 1857 

prosperity which enables its possessor to say to his soul, " Soul, 
thou hast much goods laid up for many days." I suppose 
nothing but a real effort to feel and believe in that exactly 
counter command of our Lord, "Sufficient for the day," etc., can 
bring us out of that most dangerous error, which will go along 
with unabated strength and vigour of body and mind. The 
peculiarity of the poor worn out Crimean soldiers is that they 
don't care to move, to eat, or to live, but when they are once 
in the hospital, they only ask for present rest. . . . 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Feb. 13, 1857. 

. . . Do you know that in the old Kalendar St. Sckolastica, 
sister of the great St. Benedict, stands as the patron of 
Feb. 10 ? The name seems well adapted to my especial line 
of work. 

As you say, birthdays have a different meaning as one 
passes on in life from infancy to youth, from youth to mid- 
age, from mid-age whither ? And it seems very awful to be 
touching on shores which once appeared so very, very distant, 
and to feel that each little promontory round which the ship 
of one's life has past has its own tale to tell of omissions 
and commissions, forgetfulness of the guiding Presence, sloth- 
fulness and selfishness. Each seems markt, as it were, by 
some gipsy camp-fire, black yet still smoking up to heaven, 
where one has listlessly spent that precious awful gift of time 
and which now bears its solemn witness. My heart often 
sinks within me when I think of thirty-nine years past and 
gone with their summer and winter, seed time and harvest, 
and so little laid up to God. Only there is the trust that 
that precious Blood cleanseth from all sin, and that He Who 
knows our weakness will accept the short and imperfect 
snatches of prayer which one is able to utter. 

Now I have said a great deal about myself, and very little 
about you. It is and has ever been my special blessing to 
have known and loved my sisters. I always think that sister's 
love is the mainstay, after mother's love, to English lads at 
school and college. I am sure that I found it so. ... 




Yesterday was a most busy day. Before twelve I had taken 
part in a celebration of H. C., two Churchings (for the tire- 
some folk would come in separately), one Baptism, and the 

wedding of . This quite independently of P.T. classes 

and other work. . . . implored me to dine with them 

and I consented. 

Scene I. A room upstairs. Table covered with tra/nuts 
and smaluuts, oranges, figs, and a huge bridecake, raisin, ginger, 

orange, and currant wine. Enter and wife, , Mr. 

, a friend with huge Crimean beard, a married young lady 

intimate with bride, and the three Miss , and wife. 

The bride's small brother and big mother. Vicar. Wine and 
cake as Vorschmack Conversation flagging but facetious, 
"little and good." Ladies rustling in silk. Gentlemen in 
white waistcoats and do. gloves. 

Scene II. The small room below with a large table on 
which stand beef, mutton, turkey, ham, vegetables a discretion, 
to be removed for P. puddings, mince pies, rhubarb, black- 
currant, gooseberry, "Damascene," raspberry, tarts and, lastly, 

cheese. The former company enter (Mrs. and who 

have very red faces having been hard at work till the present 

moment). Mrs. retains a white apron over her bridal 

costume as the insignia of her late office as cook. Every one 
does justice, ample justice, to viands, bride, next to whom I 
sit, has two vigorous goes of turkey and ham. I squeeze in 
a few jokes of a mild kind, but conversation is decidedly 
scanty. Crimean hero is apparently connected with the Stock 
Exchange, for some allusion to the Bank makes him for the 
first and only time open his mouth to speak. After cheese 
and grace we adjourn to 

Scene III. Room as in Scene I. Company the same save 

and Crimean, who stay below to smoke a pipe of hospitality 

and peace. Mrs. joins the party upstairs and from time 

to time utters some highly edifying remarks, pious and 
suggestive. A few more jokes, but conversation still very 
slight. All however seem very happy, and at 4.30 I summon 
and Crimean from their tobacco, propose 's health 

ioo THE PARISH 1858 

and his bride's, and depart like a rocket in a shower of 
friendly words. . . . 

In the early part of 1854, the Rev. Henry 
Parry Liddon came to be curate at Wantage. His 
powers of preaching were at once recognised and 
appreciated by Mrs. Butler, a keen critic. In after 
years, her husband was fond of quoting her remark 
on hearing his first sermon: "That young man 
preaches better than the Archdeacon " (Manning). 

This was the beginning of a warm and lasting 
friendship one that was only severed by death 
between the Vicar and Liddon. The latter was 
at Wantage only about a year, and then went 
as Vice-Principal to the newly-founded Cuddesdon 
College. From that time dates a close and intimate 
correspondence which only ended at the death of 
Dr. Liddon in 1890. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Dec. 11, 1858. 

. . . We have had two very happy days. The little Charlton 
school was opened by a service therein, followed by a service 
in church, and a great supper to farmers, clergy, and labourers, 
provided by the farmers. Yesterday we had our second Con- 
firmation of this year, and a Confirmation at the Home. 
Mackonochie was with us on Thursday; remarkably well and 
cheery, and apparently prudent and anxious to work simply 
for souls. 


RED HILL, Aug. 12, 1861. 

I have read your sermon carefully, and though I think the 
first part too elaborate and reasoned for the reading of most 
people, yet for the sake of the second I should be very sorry 


were it not printed. I have therefore sent it to Parker, 
requesting him to forward it to St. Edmund Hall. I do not 
know your address, though that seems safest. I have not 
received the Episcopal discourse and now that he is fairly 
launched on his travels, with his six Cathedrals to preach in, 
I cannot imagine when it will come tojhand. We left Wantage 
on Thursday, after getting through various parochial and 
Diocesan Board engagements, and to-morrow we hope to cross 
the Channel. May the S.W. wind subside a little ! . . . I was 
much interested on Saturday in the consecration of Woodyer's 
new church, built by his exertions and mainly at his expense. 
He has bought (some years since) a very pretty little estate, 
called Graffham, near Guildford and since his wife's death, 
his great desire has been to build a church to her memory. 
He has spared no expense nor effort of mind upon it, and 
the whole effect is most religious and touching; the glass is 
Hardman's, and it makes me more confident even than before 
of his enormous superiority to any of his fellows. ... I am 

staying here with my old school-fellow and college friend . 

It is most delightful to be in such a house. He is a lawyer, 
and married early to the sister of another old school-fellow. 
They are both thoroughly right-minded] and religious (of the 
right sort). He has built himself this house, and in it a 
little oratory for family prayer purposes. Close to him is 

his brother-in-law, Mr. , another layman, of exactly the 

same mind. His boys are at Bradfield. Depend upon it, 
nothing ever came near the ' Oxford Movement ' for influencing 
and turning heavenwards the minds of this class of men. Alas, 
alas ! the new lights, with their religion of doubt and scepticism, 
little know what they throw away. Such households as 

this make one feel it bitterly. And yet men like are 

what they are because of their generation. How wonderful 
it seems. We enjoyed your visit very much. It did us all 


Sept. 10, 1861. 

You will see from this that we are at home again, after some- 
thing more than three weeks of touring. We went the old route 

102 THE PARISH 1861 

of Folkestone and Boulogne to Paris. Thence through Burgundy 
to Lyons, stopping at Sens and Dijon spent a couple of days 
in intense heat at Lyons thence down the Rhone to Valence 
and then in various voitures to Aubenas in Ardeche hunting up 
volcanoes and churches, and sleeping in little village inns. Le 
Puy in Velay, a most wonderful city of the tenth century ; Cler- 
mont (it seerns still to echo with Diex le volt), from both of 
which we made excursions ; and so home by Bourges, Orleans, 
and Amiens the last for the sake of the clean and sweet hotel, 
which saves one the stench and expense of sleeping in Paris. 
Eiddell l is a charming ' compagnon de voyage,' most gentle, 
unselfish, bright, and accomplisht vigorous, too, and up to any 
amount of bodily exercise, and thoroughly right minded and 
sympathetic in all greater things. The tremendous heat (thermo- 
meter at 96 Fahr. in the shade on a north wall one day) was 
the only drawback. We had not a drop of rain the whole time. 
I suppose that the south of France is one of the hottest places 
in the world, and this year it was agreed by all that the heat was 
more than the oldest inhabitant could remember. We have 
come back very geologically inclined, and one picks up the stones 
and flint of the London clay, looking instinctively for lava and 
basalt. The general effect of Auvergne, looking down upon it 
from the Puy de Dome, or the Pic de Sancy, at Mont Dore les 
Bains, is as if a collection of dust holes and cinder bins had been 
poured out upon it in little heaps. The whole soil is cinereous, 
pustulated with volcanoes, from which immense masses of lava 
and basalt have been belched forth on the original granite 
tilling up valleys, altering the course of rivers and damming 
them up into lakes, leaving here and there huge waves, where 
the lava has cooled quickly, just like breakers foaming upon the 
shore. In course of time the water and the atmospheric in- 
fluences acting on the weaker parts have worn them down and 
made deep valleys, very fertile and lovely, mostly covered with 
huge chestnuts, and permeated with springs of the most delicious 
water very often highly chalybeate and effervescent flowing 
right under the volcanic strata. The sides of the rivers and 
gorges are fluted as it were with regular pillars or prisms of 
basalt and, if the top soil be worn away, you see them in as 
regular a pavement as Minton's tiles would make octagonal or 
. James Eiddell, Fellow of Balliol. 


some other mathematical form. Then sometimes, as at Le Puy, 
crags of basalt or lava having a little more iron in them than the 
masses round, have resisted the forces- round them, and stand up 
in the strangest way like huge craggy teeth in the middle of the 
valleys, covered with churches (of course S. Michel) or castles. 

Well, you will be tired with geology, and I am sorry to say, 
I have little else. The churches of Auvergne are very striking, 
mostly of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries ; Byzantine 
in structure and detail, with a series of domes, or rather quasi- 
domes, in lieu of internal vaulting. From what little I saw, 
I should imagine that the Auvergne folk are not very strong, 
like the Breton, in the matter of religion. On the weekdays 
one could run over the churches before twelve, which rarely 
happens elsewhere, on account of the continual Masses, which 
one cannot disturb. We heard a sermon at Lyons, for men 
only, to which we were admitted by ticket. It was in the 
cathedral, and about 500 were present. The preacher was 
very eloquent and earnest. He said that he should break 
through his usual course, because of the Octave of the Assump- 
tion, and took for his theme the "culte" of Mary. Nothing 
could be more illogical than the discourse ; it was full of asser- 
tions and even misquotations from Scripture, yet telling to 
the folk addressed; neither Riddell nor I felt at all more in- 
clined to accept the views which the preacher held. It is 
very sad to see how the worship of Mary is obscuring that 
of the One Mediator. By the way, Ars is not far from Lyons, 
and I picked up some histories of that good curffs life and 
death. They are most interesting, and if only I had the pen 
of a ready writer I would certainly cook up something for the 
' Ecclesiastic ' which alone would enter into the thing heartily. 
It is very instructive to our parochial clergy to have such 
things brought before them. Men little know what earnest 
hearts and holy lives can do. It seems that to the very last 
he was full of apprehension for the future. " Dreadful thought," 
he said, "to appear before the judgement seat of God with 
my poor life of a cw6." 

I hope to return on Saturday to work. There is a good 
deal to think about, when I do begin to take things in 
hand. . . . Then there is all the Home and St. Michael's, 
with their many branches of difficulty, and finally the P. Council 

104 THE PARISH 1862 

under Lowe have entirely reorganised the whole system 
of grants, making it very difficult to see our way, in 
the matter of s. d., to keep the schools going. I have 
glanced over their Code, and at first sight I am inclined 
to think that all will be right in the end. You know that 
I am going out as a deputation for S. P. G. in Cornwall from 
Oct. 6-20. 

I have received the Bishop's MS. sermon, and the proof 
of yours. . . . The expression, "incarnate in language," is, 
I think, hardly accurate, considering the exact meaning of 
"incarnate." Would it not be well to head the pages with 
the subject as Newman's are ; you know what I mean. Those 
little things help the reader very much. 

Max Miiller's lectures are in this house. I shall hope to 
read them if I can get an hour or two amidst the chatter 
and interests of family re-union. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, July 16, 1862. 

. . . Did you read the Times article on the Congress. It 
handled it according to its unbelieving cynical wont, but I 
must own that bating the sarcasms, etc. I incline to agree 
with its tenor. I was startled to find that Church matters 
were to be dealt with like geological, social science, etc., by 
papers and sections, and I own to an increasing feeling of 
discomfort at the terrible physical activity of our brethren. 
They really remind me of the description of the adversary in 
the Book of Job "going to and fro in the earth," etc. I 
firmly believe that parishes are suffering greatly from the 
continual absence and the desultory habits of the clergy. Men 
find out that it is much better fun to meet their friends 
and talk at these gatherings than "to tend the homely, 
slighted Shepherd's trade" of visiting cottages and working at 
schools. I had intended nevertheless to enter an appearance ! 

but a letter from made me so anxious about that 

instead of turning off at Didcot to Oxford, I took the express 
train up to London. . . . On Tuesday is our Commemora- 
tion at St. Mary's Home. You will think of us as we of you. 


The Warden of All Souls' will preach. We purpose an early 
Celebration at the Home, and 11 o'clock matins with sermon 
and second Celebration in church. Luncheon at the Home. 
Evensong at the Home at 4. All goes on there very happily, 
and a few more Sisters slowly join us. ... I agree with 
your argument on the subject of vows, in the main. But, of 
course, admitting that the principle of vows is accepted by the 
Church by the instances of ordination and marriage, it is 
quite another question whether it is advisable to applj r it to 
Sisterhoods. We must not, I think, press the question at 
present. Once let the institution grow strong and important, 
and it may dictate its own terms. I was not much pleased 
to find that Sisterhoods were one of the subjects for the Congress 
to discuss. (The word Deaconess seems to me detestable, and 
the natural correlative is Priestess. There is an animus in the 
nse of it.) There are always a host of folk ready to rush in 
and make talk-capital of what others have been doing, and I 
dreaded, not as it seems without some justice, what such 
folk would say. what a wonderful book is the book of 
Proverbs and how like men are one to another everywhere 
and always. . . . 


Dec. 6, 1862. 

. . . Cartwright tells me that the question of your 
election as Coadjutor Bishop with the right of succession is 
very openly discussed in Toronto. Of course I did not tell 
him that I had heard anything of the matter. He says 
that there has been a "caucus" or informal meeting to deal 
with the subject, and that the only difficulty is the want of 
a fund which is to be raised. It appears that the present 
Bishop of Toronto is paid by the Home Government, but that 
his successors must throw themselves upon the local Church. 
But he (C.) anticipates no difficulty on this score. There is 
much speculation, he adds, as to whether or no you are likely 
to accept the post. Probably all this or more is no news to 
you or you have heard something from Eiddell. But Badgeley, 
a Queen's man from Canada, tells me the same story. . . . 

106 THE PARISH 1864 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Dec. 19, 1864. 

Do not think me a pest. I cannot help pressing once more 
the extreme importance, as it seems to me, of a counter-move 
to the Destructives. It is quite true that the religious party 
may not be able to agree upon a scheme, but they are not, 
as I think, called upon at present to do this. What is required 
is to show a good face to the world, to make it understood 
that there is at least a fair number of not unknown names 
who think very differently from the first memorialists. Surely 
this could be done. 

I have great faith in protests. Their value comes out wonder- 
fully in after times. The Sicilian Vespers came of a protest. 
It is like rowing a losing race. Chances occur when they 
are least looked for. And after all they are acts of honesty. 
It is something to say liberavi animam meam. I am going 
to write to Luard to this effect. The Times, somehow, evidently 
does not go heartily with the Destructives, and I cannot help 
thinking that they would be glad of a counter-demonstration. 
Even Gladstone hinted that it would be well for the memorialists 
to neutralise opposition by reasonable compromise. But if 
there is no opposition, they will have it all their own way. 
I think that I would rather have a compulsory than a permissive 
bill. Do you not think that the increase of personal holiness 
is some set off against other and adverse things 1 . . . 

At this point it may not be out of place to give 
a brief resum$ of the Vicar's methods of parish 
work, principally related by himself in the " Parish 
Journals " and elsewhere. 

His custom of working out details upon a 
broad foundation of principle may be fitly illus- 
trated from the records of his parochial work 
at Wantage, kept with scrupulous minuteness in 
what he called " the White Books," as they were 
bound in parchment. This parish diary begins on 


August 4, 1847, and is preceded by details of the 
census of 1821 in Wantage, by a list of " un- 
baptized persons in the parish of Wantage being 
more than three months old," and of persons living 
in flagrant sin ; and a description of the " objects " 
of the journal as " facts concerning the spiritual 
and bodily welfare of the parishioners of Wantage, 
observations on the cottages, wages, rents, marks 
of progression, marks of retrogression, and the 
like." Notes on the services occur frequently ; 
and after a few years another series of books was 
opened, with entries of every sermon preached in 
the parish, with the text and the subject, each 
entry being made by the preacher. 

As early as January, 1848, we find that the 
" communicant classes," on which the Vicar laid 
such stress all through his parochial life, were already 
organised. "Wednesday Young women to prepare 
for H. C. ; Thursday Young men, and married 
women ; Friday Young women ; Evening service ; 
Married men." From that time forward, till he 
left Wantage, he never omitted to take these classes 
himself, except in the rare case of incapacitating 
illness, and once a year when he was taking a 
holiday. The numbers attending the classes grew 
steadily, as the newly confirmed were drafted into 
them, till, at the close of his ministry at Wantage, 
he could write (in an article in the Literary Church- 
man, afterwards reprinted as a small pamphlet) : 

I have found it necessary in a country town to form no 
less than twelve classes which are invariably in the week 

io8 THE PARISH 1847- 

which precedes the first Sunday of every month, and before 
the greater festivals. These classes vary greatly in size. The 
smallest has eight names only, the largest forty-five. On the 
whole the numbers, which at first were under thirty, have now 
passed three hundred. A careful list is kept of absentees, who 
are always specially visited and invited not to pass over the 
next time. A few, as might be expected, slip through as years 
flow on, sometimes from old age, or other reasonable causes ; 
sometimes from idleness ; but the leakage is more than made up 
for by those whom each Confirmation and close and continuous 
parish sifting adds. 

He continues with " a few words of caution," 
which describe, in fact, his own practice for thirty 

(1) On no account should these classes be held in school-rooms, 
parish-rooms, or aisles of the church, but in the parsonage itself. 
It is of all importance to give them a friendly aspect, to take 
away stiffness, and to make those who come feel themselves, 
so to say, thoroughly at home. Chairs, not forms, should be 
arranged comfortably and hospitably round the room, which 
should also be well warmed and brightly lighted. (2) The 
members of the classes, as each monthly week recurs, should 
be re-visited and re-invited. General notices given in church 
are of less than no value. Nor is it advisable to leave messages 
with neighbours, for this too often gives opportunity for a 
sneering remark, and breaks down the delicacy which should 
characterise all that has, however remotely, to do with com- 
munications on spiritual subjects. (3) The classes must on 
no account be omitted. No call of pleasure or of family con- 
venience, save perhaps once a year when a holiday is needed 
for health, should be preferred to them. If once it is perceived 
that the clergyman can put them aside for his own purposes, 
the lesson will soon be learned by those who ought to attend. 
In my opinion, all the success of communicant classes depends 
simply on really hard work, which moreover will increase in 
hardness as the thing takes root and grows. Much prayer, 
much patience, much tact, and much perseverance are here 
absolutely necessary. If a man is not prepared for this he had 


better not attempt to gather them together. If, however, he 
is not afraid of " spending and being spent," he will, unless in 
very exceptional circumstances, find after a time that he has 
established without show or fuss, in this bit of parochial 
machinery, a most potent auxiliary in his campaign against evil. 

A few more details may be given, for no idea 
can be formed of his parochial life without realising 
what an important place these classes took in it. 
' Class-week,' as it was always called, was a time 
in which every fibre of his energetic nature was 
strained almost beyond endurance, as those knew 
who saw him at his hastily-snatched meal taken in 
the short interval between two classes. But the 
hardest week of the year, perhaps, was that in which 
the Confirmation classes, which he always took him- 
self, coincided with the Communicant class-week, so 
that nearly every hour of the afternoon and evening 
was spent in his study, one class succeeding another 
with hardly any interval, till at some time after 
nine o'clock he would appear, saying, " I am tired." 
But he rose at six the next day- as usual, ready for 
that work which was really his life. 

He divided his Communicant classes into 

(1) Young ladies, including the daughters of the upper trades- 
people and the pupils of a young ladies' school ; (2) young men 
(a) clerks and the better educated, (&) mechanics ; (3) young 
married women and others, in two similar classes; (4) two 
classes of elder married women, each at a different time, so 
as to meet their convenience ; (5) a class of lads of the choir, 
pupil teacher boys, and their compeers; (6) labourers; and 
(7) pupil teacher girls and others connected with the girls' and 
infant schools. Each of these classes has its own fixed hour, 
which is seldom or never changed, so that they may arrange 

i io THE PARISH 1847- 

their occupations of the week in accordance with it. According 
to my experience the clergyman should always be ready to 
receive the comers as his visitors, and to greet them as they 
enter with a few kindly words to each which will not, I am 
very sure, diminish the effect of the more serious work which 
follows. The address which he should deliver, as I think, 
standing, as they sit round his table would last generally from 
thirty to forty minutes, and be rather of the conversational 
than sermonising kind; given in homely yet earnest language, 
brightened up sometimes with an appropriate anecdote or 
mention of public events, or of something which has happened 
lately in the parish, or which touches on the well-being of the 
Church. . . . The whole should be concluded with prayer, that 
of 'humble access' slightly altered, or some words arising 
from the special subject which has been handled. After the 
class is ended, I frequently ask any who require some indi- 
vidual help to stay, and call them in separately; generally, 
indeed, several of their own accord ask to be allowed to speak 
to me. I need not point out of how great value this is. 

After he left Wantage he still continued to hold 
these classes which had formed part of his life for 
so many years ; and at Worcester he enjoyed 
gathering some of his poorer neighbours and his 
servants into his study once a month to prepare 
them for Communion ; while at Lincoln he held 
classes for his own servants and those of some of 
the adjoining families, as well as for the Cathedral 
bell-ringers and workmen. His last classes were 
held just three weeks before his death, in prepara- 
tion for Christmas. 

Another matter which from the first he regarded 
as of primary importance, was the efficiency of the 
schools, both as to teaching and fabric. Thus, 
under January 31, 1848, we find entered: "Worked 
at school all the morning. The first class (new) 


very promising. Great want of arrangement. The 
lesser boys learn next to nothing." His invariable 
custom was to visit the schools daily, and he or 
one of the clerical staff always opened school with 
the form of prayer which he compiled. In this con- 
nexion may be mentioned the class which he held 
for the girl pupil teachers every day immediately 
after breakfast. All the school staff also assembled 
in the study at 12.45 on Saturday, to report on the 
week's work, so that he was in constant touch with 
every detail of elementary education in the parish. 

He was able also to compare the state of the 
Wantage schools with that of the others in the 
neighbourhood, when, in 1849, he became Inspector 
under the Diocesan Board of Education, not only of 
religious knowledge, but of the general instruction, 
as well as of the fabric and arrangements. This 
post he retained as long as he was Vicar of Want- 
age. He enjoyed his round of inspections, and 
would bring back additions to his stock of amusing 
stories, such as : Scene A village school on " the 
Downs." Question " Now, children, tell me the 
name of an animal?" (Chorus) "Please, sir, a 
cow." " Very good ; now tell me some fish." 
Long pause at last a hand timidly lifted "Well?" 
" Please, sir, a red herring." He also gained a 
valuable insight into the conditions of Church work 
in these lonely villages, and his desire to found an 
educational Sisterhood must have been much stimu- 
lated by what he saw of the school teachers during 
his early years as Inspector. 

ii2 THE PARISH 1847- 

One of his first efforts was to build suitable 
schools, and on August 6, 1849, the corner-stone of 
a school designed by Mr. Woodyer was laid by 
Bishop Wilberforce. As the number of children in 
the schools grew, other buildings were erected, but 
so much care had been taken with the plans for the 
first schools, that no structural improvement or altera- 
tion was required by the Government Inspectors till the 
famous "cloak-room and hat-peg" order of 1894. 

We find that as early as 1848 he had perceived 
the unsatisfactory results of the ordinary Sunday 
school system : 

Hitherto, he writes, the Sunday and Day schools have been 
on entirely different principles, our Day school learners and 
boys not attending any school, being all mingled together on 
Sunday. This was of necessity at first. For there was no 
school at all but the Sunday school, including among its 
scholars most of those who now form our Day school. The 
Day school then gradually attained its present size, viz. 120 
on the books, with an average attendance of 106 or 7. These 
numbers are perfectly manageable on week days by Mr. Hyde 
the schoolmaster and three monitors. But on Sundays, 
being mixt up with all the others, the numbers (about 180 
or 90) cannot be controlled by twelve or fourteen teachers. 
It seemed then advisable to take out of the Sunday school 
the Day scholars, and leave the rest for the Sunday school 
teachers to manage and instruct, collecting them in the 
English school. And this was accordingly done with very 
little difficulty. In church in the afternoon the numbers were 
174, besides some 18 who came to the Vicarage, making 202 
in all, boys under Church instruction. The two schools were 
divided and under much better control. 

The class of boys who came to the Vicarage con- 
sisted of choir boys and tradesmen's sons ; and the 


Vicar never relinquished it till he left the parish. 
The boys used to arrive about two, and remained till 
the hour of afternoon service. They repeated the 
Catechism, and some verses of Scripture (one boy 
learnt all, or nearly all, St. John's Gospel by heart), 
and after a little teaching, the Vicar told them a 
story which he continued Sunday by Sunday for 
months on end ; very often bringing in some of his 
foreign experiences, and not infrequently losing the 
thread of the tale during the week, which, however, 
did not matter, as his pupils were always ready to 
remind him of the exact point at which it had 
been broken off. 

He considered foreign missions to be an integral 
part of the Church's work, and accordingly the 
first missionary meeting was held at Wantage on 
July 16, 1848, and thenceforward it became a yearly 
event. He always tried to secure for these meetings 
speakers who had had personal experience in the 
mission field. Bishop Selwyn, Bishop Hills, Rev. 
T. V. French, afterwards Bishop of Lahore ; Bishop 
Gray of Capetown ; a black clergyman, Rev. J. 
Duport, from the Pongas Mission ; a native of 
Honolulu ; missionaries from India, Australia, Africa 
visited Wantage year by year, and addressed 
crowded audiences. A parochial association in con- 
nection with S. P. G. was formed in 1862, under 
the auspices of the late Bishop Christopher 
Wordsworth, at that time vicar of Stanford in 
the Vale, and a dear friend and neighbour. 

Nor did William Butler's zeal for missions confine 


114 THE PARISH 1847- 

itself to his parish. He travelled as "deputation" for 
S. P. G. two or three times ; and when he was 
living in Lincolnshire during the last years of his 
life he often came across reminiscences of his visit 
many years before. 

He was instrumental in forming the " Special 
Agency for Foreign Missions," of which he was chair- 
man during the whole time of its existence, and 
he acted as Commissary to Bishop Macrorie of 
Maritzburg from 1868 to 1890. 

To return to the parish. He laid great stress 
on the ministry of preaching, and especially in- 
sisted on method and order in this important 
work. In Holy Week, 1849, a scheme of sermons 
was arranged, followed a few years later by one for 
the Lent services. His own practice was invariably 
to choose his Sunday morning text from the Epistle 
or Gospel for the week. On Sunday evenings in 
the Trinity season he preached a kind of commentary 
on various books of the Bible ; and in this manner 
he expounded to his people, verse by verse, Isaiah, 
Hosea, the Pastoral Epistles, the Revelation, etc. ; 
not attempting to enter into critical questions, but 
endeavouring to bring out the practical teaching 
of Holy Writ. On Tuesday and Friday evenings 
after service he gave what he called "lectures": 
ten minutes of exposition and application of a pas- 
sage usually taken from the first lesson just read. 
Thus he instructed his congregation from the Bible, 
while he observed the order prescribed by the Church. 
His sermons were all carefully prepared, and often 

i88o PREACHING 115 

written out fully, as were also the "meditations" 
which he gave in the afternoon twice a week in Lent. 

On one summer Sunday a wasp stung him in 
the throat soon after he had entered the pulpit. 
He continued his sermon with no outward sign of 
discomfort, but after service mentioned the occurrence 
in the vestry. " Please, sir, we saw it crawling 
up you, and we thought it would sting you," 
observed a chorister. No doubt the rustic mind 
which loves anything of the nature of a practical 
joke had hoped for a "scene" when the crisis came. 

The " Parish Journal," under the date of Ascen- 
sion Day, 1871, records an informal preaching. It 
should be remembered that this was the preacher's 
fourth sermon that day, the first having been 
delivered at the 4 A.M. Celebration. 

Coming home at night I found the iron bridge filled with 
young men. This is a great evil. They make unpleasant 
remarks, etc., to girls and others passing by. I spoke to them 
about this; and as they did not seem inclined to move I 
took out my Prayer-book, read the Gospel for Ascension Day, 
and preached them a short sermon. This answered well. 
I wished them good night, and as I entered my garden they 
all walked away, responding to me in a very friendly tone. 

In the matter of hours of service he tried as far 
as possible to meet the needs and convenience of 
all the parishioners. An intimate friend writes of 
his first years at Wantage : 

He laid down as a principle for himself in beginning his work 
there, that he would not in any way alter the services which 
he found in use then, viz. the Sunday Matins, and afternoon 
(three o'clock) Evensong, and the monthly late Celebrations. He 
was ready to odd on as many other services as he pleased as 

ii6 THE PARISH 1847- 

time went on, but for many years those two Sunday services 
went on unaltered, his object being to conciliate and satisfy 
the " old inhabitants " who had got used to these services, and 
would regard any other as innovations. 

Seeing that it was practically impossible for the 
labourers to come to church on Ascension Day and 
New Year's Day at the ordinary hours, he began, 
in 1849, a Celebration on Ascension Day at 4.45 A.M., 
and finding after a few years' experience that even 
this hour was too late, he fixed the service at 4, 
and on New Year's Day at 4.30; and he was 
rewarded by the large attendance of those on whose 
behalf the effort had been made. He found, too, 
that the practice of early Celebrations satisfied an 
instinct of reverence. " I always likes to come leer " 
(i.e. empty, fasting), said a sturdy yeoman farmer, 
at one time an opponent, but afterwards a firm 
supporter of the Vicar. 

He did not consider reading the Lessons as a 
matter of secondary importance. In a paper on 
" Utterance " published in the Literary Cliurchman 
for Nov. 15, 1889, he gave his matured views on 
this subject. 

As to the reading of the Lessons, let it be remembered that 
as the prayers are the action of man speaking to God, so these, 
looked at rightly, are nothing less than God speaking to man, 
and the reader cannot be too strongly impressed with the 
great seriousness and solemnity of that which he has in hand. 
The book itself should be reverently handled as that in which 
is contained the Word of God, the very name by which St. John 
describes the Only Begotten Son. When the Lessons are con- 
cluded it should be closed, in order to prevent dust or injury 
happening to it, after the pattern of Him Who, after reading in 


the synagogue at Nazareth from the Prophet Isaiah, "closed 
the book and gave it again to the minister." The Lessons should 
be read not mumblingly or hesitatingly, not noisily or roughly, 
not emphatically or dramatically, not what is called impressively, 
but quietly, thoughtfully, restrainedly, with just so much, and 
no more, of emphasis as will enable the hearers readily to grasp 
its meaning. . . . Again, it is very desirable that the clergy- 
man, before reading any portion of Holy Scripture, should 
study it in its original language Greek or Hebrew. In this 
way not only will he appreciate far more thoroughly the meaning 
of the passage, but he will be secured against mistakes some- 
times of a very serious nature. 

. "His reading," writes the friend previously quoted, "of the 
Bible was very impressive, though exceedingly quiet. He had a 
way of throwing up some word or sentence into a strong relief, 
so that it impressed itself on one's mind and brought out new 
meanings. I have often and often thought of one evening in the 
Home chapel when the Lesson for the day was the one about 
David's sin. I thought at the moment while he was reading it 
that it was rather a distressing chapter to read to those girls. 
He read it through quite evenly and quietly till he came to the 
last verse. Then there was a little pause, and then slowly, and 
with tremendous force of expression, he said, "But the thing that 
David had done displeased the Lord." I have never forgotten 
the impression he made it was worth a whole volume of 

He gained a thorough knowledge of the people 
committed to his charge by assiduous visiting at 
their houses, not omitting such Dissenters as were 
willing to receive his visits. Thus he notes in 
May, 1862: 

Visited the . They are strong Baptists. They received 

me in a very kind and friendly manner. I am sure that it is 
quite worth while to cultivate people of this kind, for friendliness, 
if it does not win them to the Church, yet disarms them for 
open hostility; and it is impossible to say when the good 
seed may be sown. 

Ii8 THE PARISH 1847- 

On visiting in general, he writes in October, 1851: 

Our only hope, humanly speaking, and considering the un- 
popularity of the side which we advocate, is in gentleness, 
resolution, demonstrative self-denial, and hard work in visiting. 
This last, I think, we need to have imprest on us. To go out 
at four o'clock, stay half-an-hour or longer pleasing ourselves 
in some way, will not do. We must honestly and conscien- 
tiously devote at least three and a half or four hours daily to 
visiting work. Now is the time when harvest and fairs are 
over and people are sick. Sickness too should be taken in a 
business-like way. We should think what effect we intend to 
produce on the person, and work to that. We should visit 
always at the same time, so that the sick man may learn to 
look for the visit. We should always pray with him. It is 
very easy to lounge time away, which, if we were in Mr. 
Hart's Foundry working as mechanics, we should not dare to do. 

Another paper in the Literary Churchman sums 
up his many years' experience : 

Parochial visiting should be seriously accepted and taken 
in hand as an integral portion of the duties of the parish 
priest, and a definite portion of the week's hours should be 
allotted to the carrying of it out. I cannot agree with those 
superior beings who deliberately decline to visit, on the ground 
that their parishioners ought to come to them. Rather it 
seems to me that this is essentially one of the cases when 
Mahomet should go to the mountain, and be thankful that 
he has the chance of doing so. Nor, again, do I think those 
wise who allege as a reason for not visiting their flock that 
they have no "gift" for such as this, that they do not know 
what to say, and the like. I am quite sure that they are 
throwing away a very important chance, and that with a little 
effort against their natural difficulties, such as most of us have 
to make in regard to other things, and after a little experience 
and a few mistakes, they will find that the " gift " will come. 
The time given to such visiting is in no sense of the word 
wasted time. Most true is the old saying, " A house-going 
parson makes a church-going people." Nothing at all no fine 
preaching, nor overflowing soup-kettle, nor system of assiduous 


"district visitors," brings the people to church like the regular 
loving visit of the parson. What, moreover, like this enables 
the minister to gain a real knowledge of his people's minds 
and natures, their weaknesses and their strong points their 
needs both of body and soul ? Surely everything of this kind 
that he can learn respecting them is helpful not least even 
their language, varying as it does so much in different parts 
of England, and, as all know, so closely interwoven with their 
mode of thought. . . . Parochial visiting to be really 
effective must be carried out with a definite purpose and 
object that object in few words being, like all the rest of a 
minister's life and duties the winning of souls to Christ, and 
the maintaining them in the right course. . . . The winning 
of souls much resembles the taking of a city. Trenches must 
be laid down, often far from the walls, gradually to approach 
nearer and nearer, till the opportunity is found for entering. 
Thus the minister never having lost sight of his real object, 
viz. to do the work of Christ and "preach His gospel to 
every creature," at least of those committed to his charge 
must be contented often, it may be for many years, to talk 
on general subjects as the health of the family; their worldly 
condition and prospects ; events which have occurred in the 
neighbourhood, whether public or private ; the garden, if there 
be one; but, above all, as the topic most unfailing of interest 
and most legitimate, the children their characters, their 
progress at school, their present and their future. Such 
subjects as these, kindly and sympathetically handled, will 
break down barriers of shyness and reserve, and open the door 
for more directly spiritual work. Confidence once thus kindled, 
there will follow in the right time counsel as to private or 
household prayer, encouragement to regular attendance at the 
House of God, the importance of Holy Communion, the 
best method of maintaining the Christian battle against the 
world, the flesh, and the devil ; possibly also the meaning of 
true Repentance for past or present sin, in its threefold 
division of Contrition, Confession, and Satisfaction. ... As 
to the time of visiting the afternoon hours are, on the 
whole, the most convenient for all classes, especially for the 
poor, whose cottage or lodgements necessarily require the 
morning's ordering, before a visitor can be welcome. . . . 

120 THE PARISH 1847- 

It has sometimes been found a good plan where the clergyman 
is sufficiently well known and on thoroughly intimate terms to visit 
in the early evening, that is, after the day's work is ended, 
and before the elder portion of the family has retired to rest. 
In this way, and often in no other, acquaintance may be made 
with the men, who are necessarily for the most part absent 
from their homes, and invisible or at least unapproachable 
during the day. The writer of this paper, taking the idea 
from the busy parochial life of Bishop Stanley of Norwich, 
used occasionally, as it seemed to him with much advantage, 
thus to visit some of his flock. At such times, in houses 
where such a practice would be acceptable, it might be pro- 
posed to read and explain some short passage of Holy 
Scripture, and to say a few Collects taken from the Book 
of Common Prayer. ... As much respect should be 
shown to the poorest cottager as to the greatest peer. The 
head should always be uncovered on entering the house, and a 
chair should not be taken till offered. These may seem trifles, 
but they may materially affect the position of the visitor in the 
estimation of the visited. . . . Then, too, let the clergyman 
be careful not to confine his visits to the poor, as though 
they were a marked-off class, or as if he had no place in the 
houses of others. All should be visited, rich, poor, tradesmen, 
farmers, gentry, professional men, Dissenters, Church people, 
friends, and even if he have any foes. Is he not the 
minister of the whole parish 1 If he have any doubt as to 
his welcome, if the very touch of the latch fill his mind as with 
the anxiety of some difficult problem, at the thought of what 
to say and do, let him offer a word of momentary prayer, and 
he will never find this to fail. 

It is astonishing what solid and definite work may thus 
be done, far more than by sermons or by any merely general 
teaching, how many difficulties may be explained, how many 
stumbling-blocks removed, how much the tone of a parish 
may be lifted, how much interest excited in the Church, how 
the clergyman himself may win love and legitimate influence. 
To this it may be added that nothing is more refreshing to 
one who has the slightest love for souls than an afternoon 
thus spent. The sense of being kindly welcomed and greeted, 
the sense of knowledge gained of his people, the sense of 


duty accomplished, the sense of having distilled some good 
and abiding teaching, the sense of having gained warm and 
attached friends, all these combine to "reward sevenfold into 
his own bosom " the man who, instead of wasting his hours 
in lingering over a novel or newspaper by his fireside, or flirt- 
ing at lawn tennis, or seeking what is called society, or even 
following out congenial studies, visits steadily, prayerfully, 
and laboriously that flock over which " the Holy Ghost has 
made him overseer." 

The deep interest in his people which these 
extracts illustrate, caused him not to confine his 
labours for them to spiritual concerns. As in most 
old places, many of the cottages in Wantage were 
hardly fit for human habitation, and those who 
lived in them led lives not far above "the beasts 
that perish." As early as 1849, the Vicar purchased 
a batch of these cottages, pulled them down, replaced 
them with properly built houses, and tenanted them 
with respectable families. This he did on several 
occasions, and some of the other Wantage residents 
followed his example. Another matter which he 
had much at heart was the health of the town. 
He soon discovered that the systems of drainage and 
of the water supply were highly unsatisfactory, as 
was proved by frequent visitations of typhoid fever ; 
and he went about with the town surveyor personally 
investigating nuisances, and never resting till the 
arm of the law was brought to bear upon them. 

He did not overlook the value of thrift, and at 
the beginning of 1859 he set on foot a penny bank, 
which for many years he attended every Saturday 
evening. He was astonished at the power of saving 

122 THE PARISH 1847- 

out of their small earnings shown by the labouring 
class as soon as the opportunity was put within 
their reach. 

He took part in such social festivities as the 
annual dinners of the " clubs " or benefit societies ; 
and from the beginning of the Volunteer movement 
he attached himself to it, partly from his strong 
sense of patriotism, and partly from his feeling of 
responsibility as the representative of the Church 
in the parish. Thus he writes on Oct. 16, 1873 : 

The prizes of the Volunteers given away to-day. I was 
asked to give them, and to join them afterwards at supper. 
This I gladly did, because I am convinced that at this present 
time it is of all importance for the clergy to assert and accept 
their position as the ministers of the great national Church, 
and therefore interested in all the concerns of the people 
among whom they are. 

Colonel Lord Wantage, V.C., with whom the 
Vicar was closely associated as Chaplain to the 
Berks Volunteers, has recorded his recollections of 
him in his military capacity. 

Among the Vicar of Wantage's many great qualities, were 
some characteristic ones which especially endeared him to his 
country neighbours and friends, outside his own parochial 
domain. He had a spirit of uncompromising partisanship 
which led him to throw himself heartily into the ranks of 
those who were carrying out projects or movements which 
coincided with his own convictions of what was good, right, 
or patriotic. 

Patriotism was indeed a marked feature of his singularly 
manly character. He was an Englishman and a patriot to his 
heart's core. The military instinct was strong within him, and 
soldiers and everything connected with them appeared strongly 
to his imagination and his sympathy. He saw clearly, and in 


his addresses to soldiers brought out strongly the great qualities 
requisite alike to make a good soldier and a good Christian. 

The early stages and subsequent more complete development 
of the Volunteer movement very precisely fell in with the 
combative elements in his character. 

The notion that England was to be left at the mercy of a 
possible invading foe would put him into a state of hot 
indignation, during which he would pour forth floods of 
patriotic sentiments, sometimes almost unmeasured as coming 
from a minister of peace. On these occasions he would give 
expression to his confident opinion as to the necessity of 
every Englishman being trained to arms for the defence of his 
country, and of every child being taught the discipline of 

It was not unnatural, taking into account these sentiments, 
that he should throw himself heart and soul into active support 
of the Volunteer movement, especially in his own county, and 
he found a congenial spirit in his neighbour and attached 
friend, Colonel Loyd Lindsay, who commanded the Kegiment 
raised in the County of Berks. 

The Vicar took great delight in being present in his capacity 
of Regimental Chaplain during the week annually spent by 
the Regiment in camp in various parts of the county. For 
many years he continued to fill the duties of Chaplain, asso- 
ciating freely with his military comrades, and exercising among 
them an influence for good which must have left a deep mark 
on many. He was always punctual to hold a short open-air 
service at the close of the early morning drill. On Sundays 
an early Celebration in a small tent specially arranged for the 
purpose was followed by a full parade of the troops and an 
open-air service. The spirit-stirring sermons he preached on 
these occasions, sometimes standing on the ancient Tumuli of 
Churn Down, or under the spreading oak trees of Berkshire 
Forests, and once on the slopes of the Saxon burial hill at 
Lockinge, with the troops drawn up in line, and the villagers 
of Ardington and Lockinge grouped on the grass terraces of 
the steep hill side are still vividly present to the minds of 
his old comrades. 

The special excellence of the "Wantage" Company, which 
he regarded as peculiarly his own their prowess at the rifle 

124 THE PARISH 1847- 

butts and their success in the "tug-of-war" were frequent 
matters of exultation to him. 

On Low Sunday it was, and is still, the custom of the 
Wantage parishioners to give up the body of their church to 
the Volunteers and Yeomanry of the district, while neighbour- 
ing families interested in them found seats which the good 
people of Wantage readily accorded them. On these occasions, 
after a hearty service and an eloquent sermon from the Vicar, 
a military parade was formed around the statue of King Alfred 
in the market place, and the troops marched round the 
town the band playing, and the Vicar in his Chaplain's 
uniform marching in the forefront, his keen face lighted up 
with martial ardour. 

When the Vicar left the corps on taking up his duties at 
Lincoln, his comrades of the Berkshire Regiment presented 
him with a piece of plate, having words of respect and affection 
engraved on it, which ever afterwards found an honoured 
place on the sideboard at the Lincoln Deanery reminding him 
doubtless of happy days and warm friendships. 

This sketch of his methods in his parochial work 
may be summed up by some extracts from the 
" Parish Journal," written at the close of the years 
1864, 1867, and 1876. 

Summary, 1864. Lukewarmness is a great evil, which of 
course brings with it inconsistency and carelessness. How 
can they be met? Only, as I believe, by self-sacrifice, earnest 
watchfulness, and readiness to take advantage of every opening 
and opportunity. There is great danger lest we be satisfied 
with interesting and drawing people to us without spiritualising 
and Christianising them, lest we suffer them to rest satisfied 
with mere decency and the minimum of service. We are set 
among people naturally unholy, careless, unbelieving (in the 
deeper sense of the word), that is, having no natural leanings 
towards the unseen and the heavenly. Should not all our 
thoughts be bent towards raising them 1 ^/iwv TO TroXirtvpa cv 
ovpavois virapxeil Our visits should be regular, and with this 
end before us, however far off we may seem to be from attaining 


it. What is needed is a gentle pressure, the carefully con- 
sidering of each soul's needs, and the moving it on gently in 
that direction. Some need the very simplest elements, prayer, 
decently regular attendance at church, and the like; others 
should be stirred towards Holy Communion; others again to 
daily service, or at least occasional but regular attendance on 
week days; others again to higher things. Wherever there 
is difficulty and where is there not in dealing with souls? 
we should bring the case at evening before God, and pray 
for help before entering into the house. The work should 
be recognised as the real object of our lives, the reason why 
God has made us, and not as a Trdpepyov to be taken up and 
laid down at our pleasure. It should occupy our thoughts 
and our hearts. 

Summary, 1867. To rush forward would simply be to alienate 
our best. We have to teach, give them a desire, and then to 
act. Meanwhile, there is plenty of work to be done of the 
more solid kind ; the poor to visit and lead onwards, the 
children to teach to pray and to love the Church. Evening 
visits, children called in and questioned and examined, regular 
house-to-house work, the watching for a gleam of desire in 
the hard and ungodly, earnest prayer for our people, pleading 
for them with God, thinking over them individually and 
collectively, daily attendance on the sick; there is in all these 
enough, and more than enough, to occupy and satisfy one. 
Nothing but this kind of solid service will keep this parish 
up to the mark. Our people are not enthusiastic, but they 
have, nevertheless, certain principles, admitted truths, on which 
we may build, and for which we should carefully and discrim- 
inately look. May God grant us all a true spirit of love of 
souls, and that readiness to give up all for the sake of those 
souls for whom Jesus died, without which no ministry can ever 
be otherwise than "as sounding brass or as a tinkling cymbal." 
Summary, 1876. Our work then lies before us: steady, 
persistent visiting, gaining a thorough knowledge of our people, 
and bringing them to know us and our motives and ends; 
earnest thought-out sermons and instructions in Church of every 
variety; inculcation of Christian duties, especially of private 
prayer and Holy Communion; watchfulness over our children, to 
see that they are taught why they are (1) Christians, (2) Church- 

126 THE PARISH 1876 

men ; trying by all legitimate means to win Dissenters and the 
careless, of whom, alas! we have very many among us; preparing 
bright attractive services ; readiness at all times and at all 
costs to devote and sacrifice our time, our means, and all that 
we have for the sake of those to whom we are sent. Nothing 
short of all this will be strong enough to resist the atmosphere 
of evil and indifferentism, of ignorance and perverseness. May 
God grant to us all the strength and grace which we need ! 


A BREAK must now be made in the narrative of 
the parochial work at Wantage to tell the story of 
the Sisterhood, which, starting from small beginnings 
and under great discouragement, was destined to 
claim a large share of William Butler's life and 
interests. His indomitable energy and perseverance 
which refused to acknowledge defeat so long as 
something remained worth fighting for, carried him 
through difficulties and opposition which would 
have cowed a weaker man. The history of his 
forty-five years connexion with the Community is 
closely interwoven with his life and work as a 
parish priest. 

As early as 1839 NewTnan, Keble, Pusey, and 
Hook were corresponding on the possibility of 
establishing societies of Soeurs de Charite. It was 
not, however, till 1845 that the first trial was made 
by the establishment of Dr. Pusey 's Sisterhood in 
Park Village, Regent's Park. 1 About three years 

1 See Life of Dr. Pusey, vol. iii., p. 23, et seq. 


later Miss Sellon's response to the Bishop of Exeter's 
appeal for workers amongst the poor in Plymouth 
resulted in the establishment of a Sisterhood to 
carry on the works of mercy in that town. 

The events which led to an attempt at founding 
a Sisterhood at Wantage were nearly coincident with 
those which led to the founding of Miss Sellon's 

When William Butler entered upon his parochial 
work in Wantage early in 1847, he had already 
conceived in his mind a plan for organising a 
Sisterhood, which should not only be a handmaid 
to him in the work of female education in his 
parish, and in visiting the sick and poor, but 
should ultimately train Sisters to go out two and 
two into the villages as school teachers, and so 
provide for the better education of the poor in rural 
districts. He foresaw that the battle of the Church 
would be fought in the schools, and having been 
struck by the isolated condition of the village 
teachers, and by their lack of a high standard, he 
desired to set on foot a scheme to raise their 
tone, brighten their lives, and increase their useful- 
ness as Church workers. 

Ere long he thought he saw a realisation of his 
hopes. Archdeacon Manning was anxious to find 
work for a friend of his, Elizabeth Crawford Lock- 
hart, 1 who had sustained the great grief and shock 
of seeing her brother and step-mother join the 
Church of Rome, but who, under the influence of 

1 Cousin to John Gibson Lockhart. 


Manning, was at that time kept loyal herself to 
the Church of England. 

Miss Lockhart was a woman of no ordinary 
character, and her cultivated mind and holy life 
endeared her to her friends, among whom she 
reckoned the Kebles and Dysons. This led Manning 
to speak of her to Mr. Butler, who sent her an invi- 
tation to Wantage early in 1848. She spent the 
Lent of that year at the Vicarage, and soon became a 
loved and trusted friend of the Vicar and his family. 

The Vicar and Miss Lockhart, both being eager 
to set the work on foot without loss of time, allowed 
no difficulties to stand in their way. As no house 
was available, two cottages were taken, and soon 
after Easter the nucleus of the present Sisterhood 
was formed. The household at first consisted of Miss 
Lockhart, who was the Mother Superior, and Miss 
Mary Reid, who had been for some years connected 
with the Lockharts as mistress of a small school 
established by them at Chichester, and besides these, 
two young girls who were to make themselves 
useful in the house, and to be trained to take part 
in the work with the possibility of some day 
becoming Sisters. The arrangements of the little 
household were of the simplest and most inexpensive 
kind. The help of friends on visits was gladly 
welcomed, and one who in those early days was 
frequently there gives details of their life : 

One of the cottages had been inhabited before by a working 
shoemaker, and my bedroom was the room in which the cobbler 
sat and worked ; it was on the ground floor, very little above 



the street, and I could hear the passers-by and the old watch- 
man who used then to patrol the streets crying the hour of 
the night. The oratory was upstairs, a little blue-washed 
place with sloping roof and roughly-boarded floor ; the only 
furniture consisted of two long desks with sloping sides made 
of bare deal, at which we stood to say the Offices. There was 
room for three or four at the outside to stand on either side. 
Here sometimes the Vicar would come to join in one Office or 
another, or occasionally to give us a few words of exhortation. 

Such notices as "Lauds with the Sisterhood to 
6," " Lauds and Terce with the Sisterhood, and 
addressed them on their first beginning. May He 
ever help them and prosper their work," " With 
Mr. Keble to Prime at the Sisterhood," are of 
frequent occurrence in the " Parish Journal " during 
his first years at Wantage. Here also came Arch- 
deacon Manning from time to time. 

The National schools were not then built, and 
the girls' school was carried on in two cottages 
which were adapted for the purpose. Here Miss 
Lockhart and her staff taught daily. School began 
at nine A.M., then all went to church for matins 
at ten, and back to school till twelve, and again 
in the afternoon from two to four. Some visiting 
was also done by the Sisters among the sick poor. 
Towards the end of 1848 the little household moved 
into a larger and more commodious cottage. In 
February 1849 they were joined by Harriet Day : 
she was sent by Mr. Henry Wilberforce to make 
trial of the life and work in the newly formed 
Community. Later on came Charlotte Gilbert, a 
servant maid, the daughter of a labourer. These 

1894 A RETROSPECT 131 

two only among the earliest members of the Society 
ended their days as Sisters of the Community. 

In an address delivered to the Sisters in 1873 
the Vicar referred to these early beginnings. 

It is now twenty-five years since I was first consulted, 
young as I was, and unworthy as I was and have been ever 
since, as to the practicability of forming a Sisterhood to work 
among the poor of the parish of Wantage. There was then 
but one other Sisterhood in existence in the Church of England, 
and I differed from others, much more worthy than myself, 
who feared the effect of such an experiment in the unprepared 
state of the minds of the people in general for such a step, 
and with the help of the noble and gifted woman who deter- 
mined to devote her life and her means to the work, this 
Community was begun. How from that time it has been 
carried on, and at the cost of what anxiety, with what 
earnest prayer, with what hopes and fears, only myself and 
one other know. 

It is with deep thankfulness that I look at what we are 
now and think of the trembling beginning of that work which 
I cannot doubt God has indeed blessed. The distinguishing 
characteristic of this Society from the first has been simplicity. 
Our object at the beginning was to gather together those 
who would be content with a frugal life, patient toil, quiet 
appearance, content with yielding themselves in simple-hearted 
devotion to spend and be spent for their Master and their 
Lord, I repeat, great simplicity in dress, and, if I may use 
the word, in ritual : hard work and little show has ever been 
the mark of this Community. Does this seem a poor and 
unsatisfactory sort of aim 1 Surely not ! if we consider Him 
Who was "the lowly" as well as the "undefiled One." Is not 
the Hidden Life the ideal of the true Sister, and where can 
she find it sooner than in extreme simplicity, a quiet exterior, 
and in deep humility. 

But though the first beginnings were so happy 
and peaceful it was not long before the hope of 


founding an Educational Order was destined to 
receive its first rude shock. 

In order to understand how penitentiary came 
to take the place of educational work in the early 
days of the Community it will be necessary to 
recall the state of the English Church fifty years 

As the standard of holy living was raised by the 
inculcation of sound doctrine, and the note of 
penitence was emphasised as one of the essential 
marks of a sanctified life, the desire was awakened 
in the hearts of many to extend a helping hand 'to 
that class of sinners, who, often more sinned 
against than sinning, are looked upon as the out- 
casts of society. The Church of Rome and the 
Protestant bodies on the Continent had long estab- 
lished homes for the reception of fallen women, 
and these had been valued as a means whereby 
many weary and heavy laden souls had been re- 
claimed from a course of sin and misery and led 
into paths of peace; but until 1848 the Church of 
England had not borne witness against the sin of 
impurity or extended the hand of compassion to 
those desirous to return from their evil ways by 
raising up for their reception homes in which the 
work undertaken should bear a distinctly spiritual 
stamp. The Rev. John Armstrong (afterwards 
Bishop of Grahamstown) is justly regarded as the 
originator of the Church Penitentiary movement, 
and he was instrumental in arousing the conscience 
of a large number of Churchmen to the duty of 


caring for these poor neglected outcasts. But apart 
from any direct connexion with Mr. Armstrong, 
two Church Penitentiaries came into existence about 
the same time. The first of these was opened by 
Mrs. Tennant at Clewer on St. Peter's Day, 1849, 
the other a few months later at Wantage. Miss 
Lockhart had been only a short time at work in 
the parish schools, when probably influenced by 
Manning, she conceived herself called to the work 
of rescuing the fallen. This change of purpose, 
involving as it apparently did, failure of his care- 
fully thought-out scheme for an educational Order, 
naturally was the cause of no small disappointment 
to William Butler. He expressed his feelings in 
letters to Archdeacon Manning, who rejoined : 

LAVINGTON, Sept. 25, 1848. 

I have been most sincerely grieved at the thought of having 
grieved you. And I hardly know what to write. It was 
thought right towards you that such an idea should not be 
entertained without your knowledge. And the effect of this 
communication is no more than to prevent a sudden mis- 
understanding hereafter, if the day should ever come. I say 
this, because clearly as I seem to see the work and the way, 
of which Miss Lockhart has spoken to you, as falling within 
the will of God, yet I have so deep a sense of the duty not 
to change any work without overbearing reasons, and of the 
singular awfulness of the work she referred to, that I think 
my life (no certain one) may probably drop before it becomes 
a practical question : and if I live, so long a time may elapse 
before it could be attempted, that I think Miss Lockhart's stay 
at Wantage as permanent as your incumbency. I don't say 
that it might not end during your incumbency, but your 
incumbency may end during her stay. Therefore I do not see 
that you need be disquieted. 


He wrote a little later : 

LAVINGTON, Oct. 13, 1848. 

I have been called away to London, and got home only last 
night, or your letter should have been answered sooner. 

I thank you for it very sincerely. It takes from me a fear 
and a pain I could not but feel. Though I never for a 
moment doubted the perfect right and fitness, by the rule of 
nature and of the spirit of our correspondence, yet I felt that 
nothing short of a high submission of will, an abnegatio sui 
tertii gradtis would suffice to keep from between us a feeling 
[of] grief arising from contrariety of will. But your letter 
sets me at rest for ever : and I feel sure that with such a 
discipline of self, even such a loss as I trust you may not incur, 
would turn into blessing to your flock and to your own soul. 

While the diversion of Miss Lockhart's energy 
to penitentiary work was still pending, the Vicar, 
writing to Mr. Keble, refers to the Sisters' work 
during the first year of their residence in Wantage. 

I wanted also to talk to you about our Sisterhood here, 
which has, by the blessing of God, sped so fairly. It is 
exercising daily more influence on our people; and as a washer- 
woman said to me the other day, "It makes one ashamed 
of oneself to see Miss L." All classes take to it. But as 
I think you know, I shall lose a great mainstay, Miss L., 
for the Penitentiary, and with her at least two will swarm 
off, leaving, in fact, Miss A. alone. Two or three will, how- 
ever, I expect, join us; but it is most needful to preserve 
continuity, and I am very anxious to keep Miss A. as head 
of a future Home. 

On July 22, 1849 (St. Mary Magdalene's Day), 
the Vicar thus addressed the Sisters : 

Dear Sisters, a year has now passed since first we met to 
set apart, as far as in us lay, this house, and you who were 
about to dwell here, to the service of Almighty God. 


It seems but yesterday since we knelt here together, and 
yet these twelve months have been able strangely to change 
the whole current of your lives. You feel yourselves distinctly 
set apart I who address you feel it. Others little used to 
look with a discerning or even friendly eye on the higher 
aimings of the Christian life, feel it and own it also. Your 
life has now assumed, so to say, a permanent mould. The 
Religious Life, to use a technical phrase, has become your 
natural life. The ways of the world : secular arrangements, 
times, studies, society, things not out of place, nor wrong, 
would now seem strange and jarring to you. Religious order, 
regular hours of devotion, the weekly Celebration, involving 
a daily preparation of a more or less formal kind, seasons 
of silence, penitence ; sorrowing, rejoicing, as the Church 
appoints, with Christ have now wound themselves round 
your very being, edifying and sustaining your souls. 

This feeling of sanctification is exactly that which was 
needed to enable us to strike root downwards for the present, 
and by God's blessing hereafter to bear fruit upwards. 

After some months of consideration, it was de- 
cided, with the approval and concurrence of the 
Vicar, that a Home for penitents, with Miss Lock- 
hart as its head, should be opened at Wantage, 
under the direction of Archdeacon Manning, and 
with the Rev. T. Vincent, who was working as 
curate in the parish, as chaplain. 

On a bright winter's morning, Feb. 2, 1850, 
four priests, four Sisters, and a few friends met 
together to dedicate the first penitentiary work 
undertaken by Sisters in the Church of England 
since the Reformation. The event is briefly recorded 
in the " Parish Journal." 

Feb. 2, Purification of the B. V. M. 

The house in Newbury Street was opened with a Celebration. 
Vincent arranged the chapel. Three sisters, two assistant 


friends, two penitents were present at the Celebration, together 
with the Archdeacon, H. W., 1 Vincent, and myself. Before 
the Celebration I said the benediction from the Kituale for 
the house. 

The service was most thrilling, and one could not but rest 
in faith that God's blessing is on the work. In the evening 
the Archdeacon addressed the "Familia." 

Miss Lockhart wrote a fuller account of the 
ceremony to a friend. 

PENITENTS' HOME, Feb. 6, 1850. 

You will have heard from Mrs. Pretyman of the safe arrival 
of her beautiful scrolls, and the actual beginning of our 
work. I should like you to have been with us on that morning, 
nothing could have looked more solemn and bright withal 
than our little chapel. The altar, with its pure white frontal, 
ornamented only with five gold crosses, candlesticks and altar- 
plate really befitting an altar, and between the candlesticks and 
a three-branched light in the centre four vases, very beautiful 
in themselves, filled with white camellias, and a wreath of 
flowers resting upon the window-sill above. 

We had four priests, the Father Director, Vicar, Chaplain, 
and H. Wilberforce. The Vicar said the Office for Blessing 
the House, and then the Archdeacon celebrated, the women 
being allowed to be present on this occasion. They are not 
to be so generally, as the Archdeacon does not think it safe 
for them until they are better prepared. In the evening he 
preached as nobody but he can, to the whole household, 

dear , who has permission to come to our Offices, being 

also present. 

On Sunday he celebrated again at eight o'clock, and 
preached for the Vicar's schools at church in the morning, 
H. Wilberforce officiating for us, and before evening service 
he spoke to the Penitents alone in the chapel, and after it 
to us. I was sorry there were but two yet come, E. G., and 
M., the workhouse girl; two others have come since and we 
are keeping the remaining places for E. Ryle's pupils who 
are now in hospital, and are to come as soon as they are 

1 Rev. Henry Wilberforce, vicar of East Farleigh. 

1894 A HEAVY BLOW 137 

well enough. We are still in much confusion, but hope by 
next week to be quite settled ; the two houses make it 
much more difficult to arrange things in a regular orderly 
way. Charlotte Gilbert, the probationary lay Sister, 1 is very 
useful. . I like her much, and hope she may like the life well 
enough to stay with us. ... I have always forgotten to say 
to you that we are by no means in a condition as you seemed 
to think not to want help. The resources our Father Director 
counts so touchingly upon are neither more nor less than the 
alms of the faithful, which he feels sure will never fail us if 
God indeed prospers our work. We have enough to support 
ourselves and six penitents, but about 200 a year will be 
wanted for rent, chaplain's salary, etc., so if you know any 
one who would like to help us either by giving or collecting, 
we shall receive it thankfully, so that it be not given by 
constraint, but for the love of God and of His lost sheep, and 
of course the larger our funds the greater will be our power 
of enlarging our limits. 

Hardly however had this new work been fairly 
started when the attractive power of Rome proved 
too much for the Superior, and before three months 
had elapsed the following entry appears in the 
" Parish Journal." 

April 17. Archdeacon Manning came. Much interesting 
though sad talk with him. I fear much trouble here from 
one quarter. May God in His mercy avert it and soften the 

The tidings of this great trouble, after the blow 
had fallen, were sent to Mr. Keble. 

1 Charlotte Gilbert was the only lay Sister of the Community. As 
time went on Mr. Butler found the problems which presented them- 
selves in classifying the members drawn from various social grades, 
into Choir and Lay Sisters, to be so great that he resolved after 
much careful consideration and consultation with those who had 
practical experience of the difficulty, to have only one social grade 
within the Order which he founded. This is one of the dis- 
tinguishing notes of the Order of St. Mary the Virgin of Wantage. 


[July, 1850.] 

I am ashamed to trouble you, but you will, I know, be 
interested in the sad news that Miss L. has finally determined 
on leaving us, and that this day she will join her brother. We 
have done what we could in some ways for her, but the strong 
draw towards Rome, together with the undermining support 
of her spiritual counsellors, shivered all my attempts to pieces. 
Now we are in much trouble to keep the work up ; we have 
no one on whom we can rest, indeed, the household is a body 
without a backbone, just standing up and no more. The Bishop 
kindly offers to do all he can for us. But he is overwrought 
with so many things. And my hands are indeed so over- 
loaded that I can [hardly] keep what is on them already. 
Vincent holds up nobly. Can you find anyone for us ? We 
are not at present in want of money, for the heaviest and 
main expenses are frankt to the end of the year. But the 
anxiety is boundless. 

What is doing in the Church? Are men failing, or why is 
the great meeting put off? 1 It is very depressing to us at a 

The calamity which had befallen the infant 
Community did not stop here. Sister Mary quickly 
followed her friend and Superior. Henry Wilberforce, 
too, had seceded to Eome. Would the step he had 
taken affect the two Sister Harriet and Sister 
Charlotte who remained, and who had been sent 
to Wantage by him? This was naturally the thought 
uppermost in the mind of the Vicar, and he resolved 
to throw himself into the breach and try to hold 
the position. 

Sister Harriet was a woman of a remarkably shy 
and retiring character, and up to this time had 
come little into personal contact with the Vicar, 

1 To protest against the Gorham judgement. Life of Dr. Pusey> 
vol. iii., chap. x. 


and indeed stood so much in awe of him, that 
when he came to the house she used to contrive 
some errand amongst her poor people to take her 
out. But now, if the work was to be carried 
through, it was to her that he must look at least 
for temporary help in this crisis. She had been 
converted from Socinianism by Henry Wilberforce, 
and felt she owed to him her very soul. Surely 
the step he had taken must be right, and she 
would follow him and her friend Miss Lockhart, 
to whom she had deeply attached herself, into the 
Church of Rome. Thus she argued, but the Vicar 
would not let her go without seeking to convince 
her in calmer moments of her error, and to retain 
her in the English Church. He invited her to stay 
at the vicarage ; while there he not only instructed 
her daily as to the position of the Church of her 
baptism, but gradually gained the deep affection 
of her nature, and the visit was the beginning of a 
friendship which strengthened as the years went on. 

Bishop Wilberforce, to whose fatherly advice 
William Butler had looked from the earliest begin- 
nings of the Community, at this juncture proved a 
most kind and helpful friend. He took an early oppor- 
tunity of visiting the house, and at his suggestion 
various modifications were effected. 

From this time till 1854 the Sisters worked on 
under the superintendence of the Vicar without 
formally appointing a Superior. With William 
Butler as their spiritual guide, the little band of 
Sisters caught the spirit of singleness of purpose 


which he strove to instil into them. In spite of 
all difficulties and disappointments the Vicar was 
able to look even hopefully forward, and to write 
cheerfully to Mr. Keble at the beginning of the 
New Year: 

WANTAGE VICARAGE, Jan. 9, 1851. 

Many happy New Years to you and yours and all at Hursley. 
It seems strange to write so blithely in this day of sorrow, 
but I think in spite of all there was no harm in wishing 
and even hoping. . . . Miss Hedger (Sister Catherine) deserves 
great consideration, for she came here in the hour of our need 
without having any kind of acquaintance with us or our work, 
merely invited by a mutual friend. She has now given up 
home and sisters, after a bitter struggle, to uphold our Home, 
and is moreover able and discreet. Things have prospered 
under her care beyond our hopes. ... It would be an exceeding 
pleasure to us to show you "the Home." You know that 
Miss Ashington is likely to come here again as a permanent 
sister; she talks of coming on the 20th or 21st. 

Philip Pusey is staying with us, as merry and funny as a 
kitten. . . . 

A few months later he wrote : 

We are all very strong and hearty. In the Home are eleven 
penitents and five Sisters, and we just keep about 120 
between us and jail. 

Slowly, and yet always steadily, the work grew 
and developed under exceptionally difficult circum- 
stances. As more applications were made for 
admission to the Penitentiary, increased accommoda- 
tion was obtained by turning lofts into garrets, and 
out-houses into laundry and work-rooms, and finally, 
by building a temporary chapel. So short-handed 
were the Sisters at times that on two occasions 
they turned to the Clewer Sisterhood for help, and 

1894 WORK AT THE HOME 141 

their appeal was generously responded to by that 

There was much which gave encouragement to 
the workers. Some of those gathered into the 
Home caught the fire of love for souls and sought 
to reclaim others. In 1851 a penitent was dying 
of consumption. Her constant prayer for nearly a 
year was that a sister, whom she knew to be living 
a life of sin, might be led to repentance. As each 
new-comer was admitted, she eagerly inquired her 
name. After many disappointments the poor sufferer 
had at length the happiness of welcoming the sister 
for whose salvation she had so earnestly supplicated. 
The other had heard of her dying condition and 
had walked all the way from Bristol to see her. 
When she knocked at the door she had neither 
knowledge of, or desire for, repentance. Her visit 
ended in her remaining and attending on her sister 
during the last weeks of her life, and the one 
who had learned penitent love taught with failing 
breath the love of the Saviour who had died for 

One other incident bears testimony to the same 
earnest zeal on the part of the penitents. One of 
their number was unsettled and resolved on leaving 
the Home. Three others banded together to win 
her by their prayers to remain. They asked per- 
mission to be allowed to spend a day in fasting 
and prayer in behalf of their companion. This was 
not allowed them, but the chaplain, having spoken 
to them collectively and ascertained that all desired 


to help her, consented to their giving up their 
breakfast and spending their time in devotion 
which he himself conducted. Before the day closed 
they had the joy of having their companion among 
them, willing and anxious to remain. 

As the work developed the fact became more 
and more apparent that a duly appointed head was 
needed for the well-being of the Community, and 
William Butler's clear judgement and discernment of 
character led him to see in Sister Harriet, whose 
retiring and shy nature made her known to few, the 
one to whom under his care and guidance he could 
trust the ruling of the Sisterhood. In the " Parish 
Journal," February 21, 1854, he notes : 

The Bishop went in the morning to the Home and there 
instituted Sister Harriet. This seems a most important step, 
and probably she is the first ecclesiastically appointed Superior 
in an English house of this kind since the Reformation. 

After her death in Jan. 1892, he thus described 
her character to the Sisters : 

Hers was indeed a life of faith. It was no light thing 
in those early days to go forth like Abraham "not knowing 
whither he went," trusting to the call of God, certain that 
where He called it would be right to follow; so it was she 
came to Wantage. She was always the same timid, diffident, 
yet full of simple faith. Humility, simplicity, faith, love, 
were the characteristics of her whole being. . . . Her 
singularly truthful and quick nature made her thoroughly 
grasp and rejoice in the teaching of the Sacramental doctrines 
of the Church, and she remained, in spite of all temptations 
and difficulties, firm and faithful to the Branch of Christ's 
Church established in our land. 

So diffident was she and retiring, that for a long time it 
seemed impossible that she should hold a position of respon- 


sibility and direction of others, but in answer to many prayers 
she was pointed out as the future Mother of the Community. 
... It was indeed mainly owing to her singleness of mind, 
combined with much firmness of purpose, that the Community 
was enabled to face the difficulties of its earlier years. 
Scarcely ever did her judgement fail, whether of persons or of 
things. It was quite impossible to know her intimately without 
loving and admiring her. And certainly nothing has done 
more than her loyalty to the teaching of the Church to 
impress upon the Community that character of sober obedience 
which I trust it will never abandon. 

And now the work to which he had so faithfully 
clung when those who were its originators had 
failed seemed fairly to have taken root. Before 
the close of 1854 William Butler was eager in his 
desire that the Community should have a per- 
manent home ; this could only be suitably effected 
by building. By July 25 of the following year 
matters were sufficiently in train for the founda- 
tion stone of the present St. Mary's Home to 
be laid. 

The day began with a storm of rain which, however, cleared 
off" by one, when the Bishop, accompanied by the Archdeacon 
of Berks, Dr. Wordsworth, Milman, Barff, Thirlwell, Trinder, 
Du Pre, Houblon, Cranmer, G. Sawyer, Smith, and the clergy 
of the parish, proceeded to lay the corner stone of the new 
St. Mary's Home, on the ground purchased from W. Dixon, 
at the top of Mill Street. The service was adapted from 
that used on a similar occasion at Clewer, and the choir sang 
it extremely well. Many of the farmers and others were 
present from the market, and a goodly attendance of our 
Church folk. Altogether the whole service was very satis- 
factory and cheering. May God prosper the work. . . . The 
Bishop addrest the workmen especially, and very much to 
the purpose, on the duties and blessedness of labouring in 
such a work. 


September 15th, 1856. The new St. Mary's Home entered. 
September 19th, 1856. Service at the Home on entering 
and using the (temporary) chapel for the first time. 

An address to the Sisters given about this time 
reviews the work of the first eight years, and shows 
the spirit in which the foundations of the Order 
were laid. 

We have now, by the mercy of God, all but completed the 
eighth year of our existence as a society. The history of our 
fortunes and trials, the hopes and fears, the difficulties and 
the marvellous reliefs, the encouragements and mercies, of 
that octave of years, would indeed take long to tell. 

When I look back to our small beginning, when I think 
of the fearful shock which, in its tender growth, our society 
received ; when I consider the just suspicion which then lighted 
upon us; the difficulty, nay, as it seemed almost impossibility 
of supporting even the three or four penitents and the three 
Sisters engaged in their education ; our fruitless endeavours 
to find any one to whom we could fitly confide the charge 
of the household, and our total inexperience in this kind of 
work, I do indeed bless God for the bountifulness with 
which He has heard our prayers, and supplied us with exactly 
the help we needed, and granted us so much absolute success. 
Especially, my Sisters, I would thank Him that while He 
has given us what we needed, He has never given us more. 
. . . Very wholesome then for us is this our simple unadorned 
and formless household. We may indeed be thankful that 
we see not our reward. It must be good for us, it is like 
our Lord Jesus Himself. And, believe me, we need not 
fear "Fear not, little flock," it is His own gracious word. 
The " little one " in God's good time shall become a thousand ! 
. . . Let us indeed see that it is no lower motive than the 
love of Jesus which constrains us. ... Thus shall you have 
that peace which He alone can give. . . . The Lord Him- 
self shall be your inheritance and your lot. He shall dwell 
with you and make His blessed presence in all its warmth 
and light, its grace and truth, its perfection of holiness felt 
and recognised. And in his own good time perfecting, estab- 


lishing, strengthening, settling you. He shall give you the 
consolation of a manifold blessing. Yea ! the Lord shall in- 
crease you more and more, you and your children. 1 

But while the Vicar was thus guiding the Peni- 
tentiary work under the Sisters' care, his original 
wish of establishing an educational Order had lost 
none of its fervour. When the Sisters in 1850 
moved into a larger house, the cottage was retained 
for the teaching staff of the girls' school ; and before 
long a lady was introduced to him who seemed 
likely to be a valuable helper in this work. About 
the same time a family of five sisters, ardent and 
instructed Churchwomen, settled in the parish. 
They lived together for some years, helping the 
Vicar in every way, and especially by forwarding 
the various educational works which were now 
springing up in Wantage. At the end of 1851 
he wrote in the " Parish Journal " : " Our school 
staff promises better than it has ever done. The 
great accession to the parish of the Miss W.'s is 
indeed a subject of greatest thankfulness." 

But in spite of all this, the next few years brought 
much disappointment and failure. 

The girls' schools were, from one reason or 
another, a source of much anxiety to the Vicar. 
Still his constancy and perseverance in work to 

1 Ir\ a letter, dated Florence, May 12, 1890, he wrote : "One thing 
I feel pretty sure about, the danger of having too much beauty, 
and too many valuable things in religious houses or even in churches. 
In the one case they tempt the spoiler, in the other they make 
God's house into a mere show-place for casual visitors. I am thankful 
that our Community goes in for simplicity and plainness." 



which he had once put his hand never failed, and 
he was rewarded by seeing his desire realised, though 
not quite on the lines he had first laid down. 
The story of success gradually growing up out of 
disappointment and apparent failure is to be found 
in the " Parish Journal " : 

1852. Miss began a work school for the girls of the 

parish who have past school days. They are to receive one 
shilling weekly and their work sold. This will be a great 
thing for them, enabling the mothers to spare them from that 
demoralising habit of carrying babies about at sixpence a week. 
We are working up a small middle school in connection with 
the day school, under the superintendence of Miss . 

The year 1853 saw the beginning of a fresh 
educational work, combining under one roof a 
training school for girls going to service with one 
for pupil teachers in National schools. A lady 
who had begun at Littlemore a school for the 
training of girls for domestic service wished to 
remove it to Wantage, and to complete her project 
by building a suitable home. 

The Vicar, overweighted with the financial anxieties 
of his various schools, was not desirous for the intro- 
duction of another into his parish, and said : " One 
more school would fairly ruin him"; nevertheless, 
the house was built and the work began. 

In the entry at the close of the year he expresses 
grave concern about his schools. 

There is constant anxiety about those in charge of them. 

Miss , from her delicate health and other anxieties, is 

scarcely to be depended upon for long, while Miss , by 

whose exertions the middle school is sustained, is absolutely 


engaged to the St. Saviour's Sisterhood as soon as her place 
can be supplied. We need much prayer for our work. I 
feel daily more and more how little is needed to break it 
rudely to pieces, and how helpless we ourselves are. Such 
as it is, God alone has brought it to pass, and He alone can 
uphold it. Are we sufficiently convinced of this ? 

The offer of some voluntary workers in 1854 
cast a ray of brightness on what would otherwise 
have been a very depressing year with regard to 
the schools. The draft of a letter to one of these 
ladies shows the plan of operation the Vicar had 
in view. In writing of the female department of 
his parochial work, he says : 

It consists (1) of a large National school; (2) of an infant 
school ; (3) of a middle school for tradesmen's and farmers' 
daughters; (4) of a small training establishment for mistresses; 
and (5) of an industrial school for girls who have passed 
through the curriculum of the girls' school. 1 . . . Our present 
desire is to extend our operations through the deanery of 
Wantage, of which I am Rural Dean, and endeavour to supply 
the various schools and poor parishes of which it is composed 
with school mistresses of a more truly religious character than 
are, as I find from long experience, at present to be obtained. 

1855 opened with fresh hope, and on St. James's 
Day, on which day the foundation stone of St. Mary's 
Home was also laid, the Vicar was gladdened by 
what seemed to be the accomplishment of his long- 
cherished plan, the beginning of a School Sisterhood. 

At eight o'clock the Bishop instituted , , and 

as Superior and Sisters of the new School Sisterhood, whose 
charge should be the training of young children, servants, 
and governesses. 

But before twelve months had run their course 

1 To these was shortly added a ladies' school. 


the scheme which William Butler had with so much 
patience and prayerfulness sought to carry out, had 
come to an end. 

Oct. 1. Visit from Superior of School Sisters full of 
troubles. There is need of help for the Middle school which 
is in danger of falling to pieces. Sister Mary is overworkt 
and I fear will not pass her Government examination. 

A mistress must be provided for the Girls' school, provision 
must be made for pupil teachers. . . . My fears last year 
about the School Sisterhood have been sadly realised, and 
now after much demonstration and talk, after the solemn 
service and the Bishop's address on St. James's Day, it seems 

that Miss is a person far too self-willed and unpractical 

to leave in command . . . but besides all this, the poverty 
of the household renders it absolutely necessary to make a 
complete change. I cannot but believe that with proper 
management and greater openness all might have gone well, 
but as it is we must be content if we are not buried or 
damaged in her ruin. . . . There are of course, thanks be to 

God, subjects of joy and hope. Mrs. and her new 

buildings in Tanner Street seem likely to afford a good prospect 
of carrying on an educational work. 

Feb. 17, 1856. Much anxiety about Miss and her 

Sisterhood. After willingly leaving all things in my hands, 
she now writes very dictatorially arranging them in her own 
way. This of course cannot be permitted, and I see nothing 
but a separation in prospect. May God guide us all in this 
matter and suffer no human feeling to stand in the way of His 
holy service. 

April 12. It is very grievous to have been forced to give 
up a plan which promised so well as that inaugurated on 
St. James's Day, but the extreme irregularity of the Superior 
and her impatience of control made it hopeless to go on with 
her aid, and I must now carry on the work in a different 
fashion. I trust and pray that we may yet gain the assistance 
we need, and work through the ladies of the Home an educa- 
tional system. 

But at present with the very small numbers and invalided 
condition of those who are there, it would be quite wrong to 


build castles. We must just struggle on from hand to mouth 
and pray for help. Everything is for the present provided, 
yet I feel that all is uncertain and that everything may in an 
hour be thrown on my hands. It is a most anxious and critical 
time and only God's help will carry us through. 

St. James's Day. One cannot help recalling St. James's 
Day of last year and mourning over the failure of what seemed 
then so fairly hopeful. God grant that such failures may 
make us more careful and prayerful. 

The anxiety shown in these extracts was but too 
well founded. By the end of 1856 the Superior 
and another member of the School Sisterhood had 
joined the Church of Rome, and the third died a 
few months later. 

Whilst William Butler had thus been experiencing 
disappointment in the work which was so dear to 
his heart, he was also at the same time full of 
anxiety for the Penitentiary, the support of which 
had been left upon his hands. When he received 
it into his parish, its originators had undertaken 
to provide funds for its maintenance, but with the 
secessions to Rome the channels through which the 
funds would have flowed were cut off, and there 
was no alternative for him but to accept the 
additional burden. Not only the material responsi- 
bilities, but the spiritual duties also at times fell 
to his charge when ill-health compelled the chaplain 
to be away from his post. Extracts from letters 
to Sister Harriet 1 and from the " Parish Journal " 
show how continuous and unflagging his work for 
the Penitentiary was : 

1 Appointed Superior, Feb. 21, 1854. 


1852. I keep thinking of you all, and when I find a chance of 
advocating your cause. ... I cannot tell you with what pleasure 
I think of our common work. Difficult and discouraging as 
it is, there is quite enough result, and more than enough 
promise, to cheer us on, and to me the feeling of definiteness 
which is given is well worth almost everything. 

1853. We visited Wells on our journey, and there I saw 
our old friend, Ellen. . . . She was very glad, as you may 
suppose, to see me, and I thought her manner and appearance 
very much improved. 

1857. Some more money is really needful, only about 3 
in the last fortnight. I must try some other plan. 

1862. I should like to do more at the Home ; the little 
I see of the girls makes me long to look after them. 

1862, Feb. 2. Anniversary of the opening of St. Mary's 
Home. This gives one many thoughts of great thankfulness 
to Him who has so mercifully supported and blessed our work. 

And in 1863, in his deep anxiety to further 
the work, and to strengthen the hands of the 
Sisters, he asked his beloved and revered friend, 
Mr. Keble, to preach the sermon at their anniversary 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Monday in Whitsun Week, 1863. 

I hope that you will not think me very troublesome or 
impertinent in the matter of this letter. 

July 22, St. Mary Magdalene's day, is the Anniversary of the 
Dedication of the Chapel of St. Mary's Home, and we keep 
it every year as the Sisters' Festival. The exterior Sisters 
for the most part contrive to be there, and a few friends in 
the town and neighbourhood "assist" on the occasion. It 
would be a very great help to us, and the Sisters would consider 
it as an exceeding kindness to them, if you could preach the 
sermon. They merely want a few words of encouragement 
from friendly lips written or unwritten, as the lips prefer. 
Theirs is an anxious life, and they value most highly anything 
which speaks of sympathy and recollection of them. I know 


that I am asking a great deal; but, as I said at first, I hope 
that you will forgive me for the work's sake. We are all very 

happy here, with four of our children together keeping 's 

sixteenth birthday. A. has come from Oxford, where he is 
sojourning and reading till he joins Trinity College, Cambridge, 
in October. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, May 31, 1863. 

We are most thankful to be able to think of your coming 
amongst us, and if, quod absit, anything should hinder you, 
we will do the best we can to rig out a spar. 

I take it for granted that you and others know the real 
mind of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1 and certainly nothing 
that he has done is irreconcilable with true, though perhaps 
rather stern, filial holding to the Church. I suppose that 
minds cast, like his, in a very logical mould, find an especial 
difficulty in not " sticking to their texts." The Bishop defends 
him heartily. The word of his which I least like, though I 
can explain it, is that in his speech in the Qualification for 
Offices Bill, to which, by the way, I would gladly have agreed, 
when he said that the Church had nothing to fear from the 
attacks of Dissenters, but only from her own internal differences. 
Of course taken rigidly this is quite true, but it looked as 
though in his opinion Churchmen were to do nothing to meet 
the fierce efforts of the enemy, as if they were to hold the 
trowel only and not also the sword. ... I have sent you 
a couple of sermons, preached at the Dedication of the chapel. 
Surely of all practical revivals none is more useful than that 
of Sisterhoods. 

Also, I venture to send you an Oratio Procuratoria, written 
by a very great friend of ours, which some of us persuaded 
him to print. We think it a very pretty bit of Latin. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, July 11, 1863. 

The special point is, I think, to encourage and strengthen 
the Sisters, as Sisters, rather than as connected with this 
particular work of a Penitentiary, though of course the latter 
1 Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone. 


would come in. It seems to me that in these days of "lower 
Empire" luxury, it is no slight matter to have ladies living 
together and "enduring hardness." It is a witness to the 
Cross, when the doctrine of the Cross is all but dying out. 
Could it not be shown that the Church has recognised the 
spirit of such associations from very early times, and that 
Martha and Mary have both their place ? Then would it 
be possible to touch upon the dangers so opposite which 
beset each, and to show how in each line whether in the 
living in the "world," or in the Sisterhood, singleness of 
purpose and the thought implied in the Collect for VI. Sunday 
after Trinity would keep people right ? Would such a text 
as Eccles. iv. 9-1 2 do 1 This is merely what occurs to me 
in answer to your question, and I hardly venture to send it. 
Pray do not think it at all necessary to use it. We shall 
be only too thankful for whatever you may kindly say. . . . 

We must now trace the lines laid down for 
the guidance of the infant Community. There is 
no doubt that an active Order was that which 
had commended itself to William Butler's mind ; 
but an address given in 1849 shows clearly how, 
in those early days, he was not only desirous of 
training souls for the Eeligious life, but that he 
was willing, should it be the leading of Divine 
Providence, that the contemplative life should have 
freedom of development. 

To serve is Martha's special work, to contemplate is Mary's. 
Martha provides that Mary may have leisure to gaze. Mary 
could not contemplate did not Martha serve. Mary's eye 
must be for internal things if Martha cared most for external. 
Martha purchases, arranges, helps; yet had she that in her 
heart which she rather loves; for she serves, works, buys, 
holds, dispenses for the love of Christ. Hence she will serve, 
and from morning to evening, that others may enjoy His 
Beloved Presence. The two characters form a perfect whole. 
Each may, neither need fail. 

1 894 MARY AND MARTHA 153 

Martha may be cumbered about much serving, Mary may sit 
at His feet and despise her sister. Yet while Martha serves 
for the love of Christ, gladly aiding Mary, whilst Mary sits 
for the love of Christ, gladly praying for Martha, His blessing 
is on each, each has a portion of the blessing of the other. Mary 
has chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from 
her. Martha has served Christ, and shall follow Him where 
He is, "For where I am, there shall also My servant be." 

Moreover in this present time surely Martha's work must 
be the fittest preparation for Mary's. Surely it is hard to 
leave this world after many years spent therein, suddenly to 
renounce that increasing activity of mind and body, so common 
in this generation ; the heart languishes for want of that to 
which it has been used, the sudden revulsion is too great, 
there is danger of formalism; it is unnatural to take up a life 
of entire prayer and contemplation without some preparation, 
some gradual step-by-step beginning. Martha's part seems 
well fitted for this. Martha loves Christ, is in His Presence, 
sits not at table, but serves. What next, but that she shall 
partake of the fulness of joy at His right hand 1 She is doing 
the very part of Christ, of Him Who is among men as he 
that serveth. Has He not said of such, "He shall gird 
Himself, and make them to sit down at meat, and will come 
forth and serve them." 

But one thing surely is needed by each ; the idea of con- 
stant service . . . the Cross of Christ is grievous to those 
only who endure it not. . . . Seek Martha's work, seek Mary's 
work if you will, go on from strength to strength, but look 
upon yourselves as for ever set apart, and the world as crucified 
unto you, and you to the world. 

Rules for the conduct of the Community, regulat- 
ing hours of prayer, work, recreation, etc., were drawn 
up and received the sanction of the Bishop of Oxford 
in the early days of its existence ; and William 
Butler's own words, written at no great length of 
time before his death, show the solid basis on 
which he sought to build it up. 


It may be well once more to state the principle on which 
the Community of St. Mary the Virgin is based. It is this 
simple, honest loyalty to the Church to which it belongs, that is 
the Church of England, the Church of our native land. We 
believe that the Church of England is a true branch of Christ's 
Catholic Church, and that she has a right to lay down for 
her children what they are to believe and to do. We believe 
that in her Prayer Book her teaching and will are found. We 
are not desirous to follow our own fancies, or to set forth 
doctrines and ritual which belong to the Church of Rome. 
We are satisfied with giving dignity and beauty to that which 
we have of our own. We wish to follow in the steps of 
those great men who heralded the great Catholic Revival in 
the Church of England, and who never "left their first love," 
as Dr. Pusey, Mr. Keble, Charles Marriott, Hugh James Rose, 
and others of their kind men who combined the highest 
saintlinesss of character with deep knowledge of theology, 
keen appreciation of the standpoint of the Church, and 
amplest learning and scholarship. 

No one can read the " Oxford Tracts " without finding 
himself in an atmosphere of honest Anglican teaching as 
different as possible from some of the wild talk of the present 
day. In this, by God's mercy, although it may not fall in 
with some modern popular notions, we hope to abide. 

But everything which brought out great principles 
and added beauty and dignity to the worship of 
God he allowed in the chapels of the Com- 
munity. Nothing slovenly or tawdry could for a 
moment be tolerated by him. His keen eye was 
sure to detect the least flaw in the minutest detail. 
Everything connected with the service of the altar, 
or with any service or portion of the House of 
God must have the most scrupulous and reverent 

The thoroughness which he looked for in all that 
was connected with the chapel and its services was 


to be carried into every detail of the daily routine. 
The care, the orderliness, the love, the devotion of 
the Home of Nazareth were to be the Sister's pattern 
in her daily duties. Truly he could have said with 
St. Paul that the foundation he had sought to lay 
was Jesus Christ. The theme of the Retreat 
addresses, which in the early days of the Community 
he used annually to give, bore most frequently on 
the life of our Holy Redeemer, and in these medita- 
tions he would emphasise the first principles of the 
Religious Life, Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, 
which on one occasion he said " ought to be 
engraved on the threshold of the convent door as 
they were the very conditions of a Religious 

He was ever careful himself, and impressed on 
those who co-operated with him in the training of 
souls to respect the individuality of each one. On 
one occasion he wrote : " We must enclose all kinds 
of fishes and bring them into God's service, toning 
down yet without destroying the savour of the 
individuality." No one knew better than he how 
to allow scope for the enthusiasm of the young 
and ardent, while he controlled and directed it. 
And in all that he counselled and ordered he 
himself set an example. The intense reality which 
the spiritual life was to him, and the training and 
discipline of the character required for a close 
following in the footsteps of our Divine Master, 
was that which made his teaching ring so true, and 
consequently carry with it such weight. The lines 


written under a picture of our Lord bearing His 
Cross, which hung over the mantelpiece in his study, 

"Lord, my life's sole object be 
With pure heart to follow Thee," 

were not only the aim of his own life, but that 
to which he sought to lead those under his 

Among the thirty-four works 1 in the hands of the 
Community at the time of his death, nine were of 
the nature of Penitentiary work, thirteen were 
schools, and eight were in connection with parochial 
work. His interest in the various works of the Com- 
munity was keen. For many years he never failed 
to pay annual visits to his foundations, but with 
the increasing demands which work of all kinds 
made upon him, he was not able in latter years to 
observe this with regularity. It was his rule for 
some years to write to all the heads of Branch 
Houses at Christmas and Easter ; and he was 
able to continue his Christmas letters to the end 
of his life. 

1 These were : at Wantage, the Penitentiary at St. Mary's 
Home, St. Michael's Schools for Teachers and Industrial Girls, St. 
Mary's and St. Katharine's Schools ; at Paddington, St. Anne's 
House, St. 'Mary Magdalene's Home, and St. Mary's College ; the 
House of St. Mary and St. John, Kennington ; St. James's Home, 
Fulham ; St. Matthias', Earl's Court ; a Home for Inebriates at 
Spelthorne ; St. Helena's Home for discharged female prisoners, at 
Baling ; in the Peterborough Diocese, St. Mary's, Ketton, St. 
Mary Magdalene's and St. Anne's, Leicester, St. Mary's, Narborough ; 
the Cornish House of Mercy at Lostwithiel ; St. Peter's Mission 
House, Plymouth ; St. Mark's Mission House, New Swindon ; the 
House of the Holy Rood for Incurables, at Worthing ; All Saints' 
Mission House, Wigan ; various schools and orphanages at Poona, 
where also the Sisters have charge of the Sassoon Hospital. 


With regard to the other side of the work, the 
development of elementary schools under the gov- 
ernment system necessitated the employment of 
properly certificated teachers, and the chief educa- 
tional work of the Community henceforward lay in 
the charge of St. Michael's Industrial school, into 
which also the mistresses, pupil teachers, and moni- 
tors moved in 1858, and in carrying on the "Middle 
school," which provided what is now called Second- 
ary Education. At the end of 1862 the Vicar 
writes : 

The Middle school has thriven under the care of the ladies 
of the Home. I have some anxiety about St. Michael's, which 
has never quite satisfied me. I had good hopes, but now 
illness and death seem to shatter all plans, and it is difficult 
to see one step ahead. 

But in spite of many difficulties and anxiety 
caused by several outbreaks of typhoid fever, the 
work steadily advanced, and the pupil teachers 
for many years entered as head girls into Salisbury 
Training College, one in 1860 appearing as first 
in all England. 

It became, however, a very grave question whether 
the house which seemed so admirably suited for 
educational purposes would not have to be aband- 
oned. During the fifth visitation of typhoid, the 
subjoined entry was made by the Vicar. 

Feb. 4. Illness still at St. Michael's. Miss Osborne, after 
nursing most carefully those who were ill, is now attacked 
herself. This house is a matter of great anxiety, and it is 
very difficult to see what is right to be done. It seems pitiful 
to give it up, after all the expense it has cost, and all the 


benefits it seems calculated to give, and yet these outbursts of 
fever thoroughly paralyse everything. 

Happily with improved sanitary arrangements in 
the town and school this was the last outbreak of 
fever, and the entries of the final twelve years of 
the Vicar's incumbency tell a tale of success crowning 
the faithful persevering and prayerful efforts of 
his earlier years at Wantage. Among the terse 
and pithy sayings which might be called his axioms, 
one which he constantly repeated as an encourage- 
ment to others and which was certainly the result 
of his own experience, was : " Prayer, faith, and 
grind will carry most things through." 

So the work was prospered ; and when he resigned 
the charge of Wantage, the schools which thirty- 
four years earlier had contained thirty-six children 
twenty-four boys and twelve girls had increased 
to over 750 scholars, varying in age from three to 
nineteen or twenty. 

Not content with merely supervising the labours 
of others, he took his own part in the work of 
education ; and as early as 1850 he instituted a 
daily arithmetic class in his study, from eight to 
nine A.M., for the girl pupil teachers. After a few 
years he changed this to religious instruction, 
choosing a subject not included in their year's 
curriculum. In these classes he went most minutely 
and carefully through a large portion of the Prayer 
Book and some of the Epistles, spending a year or 
more in the study of the shorter Epistles, and two or 
three years over the longer ones. One day in the 


week the religious instruction was set aside for a 
perusal of the Saturday examination papers, an 
awe-inspiring time to both pupils and teachers, and 
much to be feared by any one who had been idle 
over her week's lessons. Sometimes he would vary 
the usual lesson with mental arithmetic or the 
study of w r ords, drawing out the reasoning 
powers of his pupils, and making them answer 
intelligently, accurately, and briskly. The stroke 
of nine was a signal for the class to come to an 
end, and all might be seen hurrying to school with 
the Vicar in time for school prayers, which began 
punctually at five minutes past nine. 

His educational power was shown by his methods 
of training those under his care. He considered 
that a somewhat dry though open and kind manner 
best marked the relation between teacher and 
taught, and he greatly deprecated any approach 
to petting or the like as dangerous in lifting in- 
dividuals out of their class, and affording a stimulus 
to vanity. He always aimed at combining strictness 
and an almost stern manner with kindliness and 
geniality, which led those with whom he dealt to 
perceive his fatherly heart, and to turn to him in 
difficulties and trials with confidence and trust. 
The teachers trained in his schools always addressed 
him as " sir," a title of respect which he deemed due 
to the Vicar of the parish. He considered equality 
and familiarity in manner to be opposed to the 
spirit of the Fifth Commandment. 

In his visits to the schools his keen eye instantly 


perceived want of method or care in any department, 
and he was as quick in speaking of it as in seeing 
it. He commented as fully upon the needlework 
of the girls and of the pupil teachers as on their 
history and arithmetic papers, and under his vigilant 
rule there was no possibility of any continuance of 
slovenly work. His own enthusiasm and devotion 
to duty inspired his teachers, so that an esprit de 
corps was created among them which, even when 
they had left Wantage, enabled them to retain 
the high standard which he had set before them. 
" Mak' sikker " l make sure were words very 
frequently on the Vicar's lips, and he impressed 
upon his teachers never to believe that their pupils 
knew anything unless they had proved for them- 
selves that they did. 

The high standard he set before his young people, 
and to which he expected them to rise, made them 
afraid of him until they learnt that he was anxious 
to encourage all honest effort, and was ready to 
be their friend ; then a deep reverential love grew 
out of the fear he first inspired. His resourcefulness 
never failed him in finding endless ways of making 
his teaching attractive and of encouraging his pupils ; 
punishment was not often resorted to, 2 and he con- 

1 See Tales of a Grandfather, vol. i., chap. viii. 

2 Once when he was showing the schools to a friend on her first 
visit to "Wantage and some children came in after prayers had been 
read, he said "You see those silly things, they have come late and 
will get a pat, unless you beg them off as an act of clemency on 
your first visit." She said "May I," and he replied, "Yes, you 
may," and it was promptly done. 


stantly impressed upon his teachers that it was 
some defect in their management if their children 
required punishment. " The children get punished, 
but the teachers deserve it ; the children get the 
prizes, but the teachers earn them," he would say. 

But it was in dealing with the really troublesome 
that his power was most felt. He never would let 
them pass out of his ken, and he often succeeded 
in making them good in spite of themselves. He 
believed in their best, and made them believe in 
it also. He used to say, " If people will not do 
right, you must make it more unpleasant for them 
to do wrong than to do right " ; and thus the 
difficult and troublesome girl found it the happiest 
and best plan to follow the path of right. 

He insisted that all whom he taught should look 
him straight in the face. One week-day evening 
when he was preaching, the pupils of St. Mary's 
school failed to look up at him. Before leaving 
the pulpit steps he called the Sister in charge to 
him, and said he would not preach to " tops of 

The following extract from a letter written to 
one in charge of an educational work, is characteristic 
of his thoroughly practical mind : 

I cannot too earnestly impress on those who have the 
charge of bodies the importance of having everything super- 
eminently clean, bright, graceful. I am quite sure that the 
more you have together the more important all this becomes. 
Food, clothes, bedding, tubbing, light, air, recreation, work, 
all need careful thinking out and must be perfect ; well looked 
after as well as well arranged at the first. Evil creeps in 


insensibly, unless the greatest care is employed. No one can 
be trusted by the head of the house what is everyone's work 
needs constant looking after and testing. 

His love went out to the children in all the 
schools, but pre-eminently to the young teachers 
who came in a special way under his care and 
training. It was one of his keenest pleasures to 
keep up a knowledge of them when their apprentice- 
ship was completed, to hear from them and write 
to them. 

In his journeyings he would take opportunities 
of seeing one and another, if his work took 
him into their neighbourhood. The children in 
the first class of the National schools were taught 
to write to him as Vicar of the parish on his 
birthday, and as the pupil teachers left Wantage 
for work elsewhere they, too, would carry on the 
practice, and letters flowed in to him from many 
parts of the world, to which answers were always 
promptly written. He greatly valued these tokens 
of grateful affection. " No one," he wrote on one 
of his latter birthdays, " who is not like me, growing 
old, can appreciate how the heart clings to the love 
of loving hearts. Love is the one thing which 
remains when all earthly work and hope are ended." 
And not only his former pupil teachers, but many 
others who had been trained in the various schools 
in Wantage were wont to write to him on his 

In answer to some of these he wrote : 

Thank you heartily for remembering my birthday. It is 


very delightful to me now that I have withdrawn myself from 
parish work, and from the close connexion with lads and lasses, 
to find so many still looking upon me as a friend and pastor. 
You would have been amused to see the barrow loads of letters, 
etc., which greeted me on the morning of Feb. 10th. 

Time is rapidly passing with me, and I shall soon pass with 
it, and the wide waters of Eternity will be before me. I trust 
that I may be ready when the time comes for that call, "Put 
thy house in order, for thou must die and not live." It is 
the only real and certain thing. If that goes right, then all 
goes right. At the same time the thought of it need not 
make one morbid or morose or dull or cheerless. While one 
lives one loves, and love is the best preparation for Heaven. 


I am writing in the midst of talk and bustle, but I must 
somehow try and send you a word in reply to your very kind 
memory of my birthday. . . . Each of the first class girls 
wrote me their greetings, all well written, spelt, and expressed, 
and full of Wantage news. . . . 

Little gifts, too, from any of his former pupils 
were valued and referred to years after by word or 
letter. "I often think of you," he wrote to one 
of the old pupils of the Middle school, "when I 
put on my best coat which always carries in its 
pocket the Prayer Book and little cloth case you 
gave me." It was no wonder that with the con- 
sciousness of the love that went out to him in 
response to his pastoral love and care that he could 
write, " I always feel when I leave you all at 
Wantage that I have left my heart behind. . . . 
Wantage, like Calais on Queen Mary's heart, is 
written on mine." 

A former pupil of St. Mary's school writes : 

I had heard a good deal of the Vicar of Wantage even in 


the far north, but not until February, 1876, did I see him. 
My friend and I called at the vicarage, and after some con- 
versation the Vicar proposed taking us over the National 
schools. . . . 

I spent most of the next two and a half years at St. Mary's 
school, where I often passed the vacation too, and words 
would fail to tell of the home and happy atmosphere of that 
wonderful place, all emanating from the Vicar, for his influence 
told in every department, and no detail of the work or character 
of each pupil was too small to interest him, and he cared the 
same about what we should do or be on leaving school. At 
that time there was a weekly privilege for the elder girls, viz. 
to go to the vicarage on Wednesday afternoons for a class on 
St. Matthew's Gospel. His notes were so exhaustive that they 
branched out in every direction, and were given in his 
characteristic bright fashion. With all the extensive duties 
of his daily life, the Vicar only allowed absence from home 
to interfere with this class. Still more to us were the monthly 
Communicants' classes. ... It was certainly our own fault if 
in a year we did not see twelve distinct steps in the ascending 

If we passed public examinations, the first thing was to go 
and tell the Vicar. And then what interest he took in our 
games ! I can see him now in the playground watching 
our favourite "French and English," helping us to put our 
whole hearts into it by his cheering interest and laughter. . . . 
What high praise it was to hear from his lips, "She'll do," or 
She's no goose," or "There's some fun in her." And when 
school days were over he never forgot his pupils. The list of 
their names which always stood on his study mantelpiece, 
was graven on his heart, and he even seemed to remember 
the circumstances of each one, and often asked us about one 
another years after he had seen some of us. ... 

You know how the constant wandering incident to my life 
made many gaps and long intervals in my seeing the Dean. 
But his welcome and interest were always the same. As time 
went on the long intervals made it more possible to see a 
change in him : physically, the greyer hair, the slight stoop, 
and if it is not presumptuous to say it, the ever-deepening 
beauty of the expression of his wonderful face, and the ever- 


nearing closeness of his "walk with God" so near that when the 
end came there was not far to go. It was one of his favourite 
expressions, "To walk with God." 

On his seventieth birthday the teachers trained 
and training at St. Michael's gave him a revolving 
bookcase, which delighted him greatly. He alluded 
to the gift in a letter to the Sister in charge : 

I need not say how deeply and gratefully I value your 
kind words and those of many others which greeted me to-day. 
I begin to think that the best and brightest examples of 
good women, simple, affectionate, true, pure-minded, devoted 
to their duties, are to be found in the class of school 
mistresses certainly taken one with another I know of no- 
thing better than our girls. I do not mean that they are 
faultless, but they show what honest living is, and what true 
women's work is. ... The circulating library stand is 
delightful. It is what I have longed for and never hoped to 
have. It will be useful too to others when my short span is 
ended. I mean to have a brass plate on the top with all the 
names engraved upon it which you have sent me. I must 
try and write a line of thanks to them all. 

He sent to each donor a copy of a sonnet : 


Much loved and loving Friends, in joy I greet 
Your kindly gift, with precious memories fraught 

Of long past hours, wherein in converse sweet 
We sought with ardent effort teacher, taught, 

To search the depths of that great Book, whose lore 
Is the great joy of souls, which to have known 

Is wealth far richer than the golden store 
Or all the treasures that in earth are sown: 

Gird you then well with this "fight Faith's good fight- 
Quit you like men be strong" in faithless days 


Hold fast the Truth; in darkness be the light; 

Defend Christ's Bride, the Church ; Christ's Standard raise 
Howe'er the world may scoff; and in His might 

Guide on His little Flock to love and praise. 

Like other founders of Religious Orders, William 
Butler recognised the importance of associating with 
the Sisters earnest-minded people, both men and 
women, who, while living in the world, should 
yet be glad to undertake some portion of the 
burden of maintaining the charitable works in which 
the Community was engaged. The first name on 
the list of exterior Sisters, a roll which now numbers 
several hundreds, is that of Mrs. Butler, who all 
her life not only took a keen interest in the wel- 
fare of the Community, but for many years acted 
as treasurer of the Penitentiary funds. Not only 
were the original infirmary wing and the embroidery 
room the gifts of an exterior Sister, but the 
embroidery work itself was started by exterior 
Sisters living in the w^orld who desired to add to 
the funds for the support of the Penitentiary 
work : 

"It is impossible to say," wrote Dean Butler in one of his 
annual letters to the associates of the Community, "how much 
you and others have given us of comfort and support. With- 
out your ready help we should indeed feel weak and lonely. 
As it is we have the happiness of being surrounded by a very 
atmosphere of prayer and affection, rising up from many 
hearts and lips in nearly all parts of the world. We can 
only in return assure you that your efforts are not wasted. 
They are expended on Christ's little ones, Christ's poor lost 
sheep, those heathen for whom as well as for us Christ died; 
and you will receive, it cannot be doubted, the reward in the 
resurrection of the just." 

1894 'A DANGEROUS MAN' 167 

He naturally made acquaintance with any who 
were staying at the Home, and such acquaintance 
often ripened into friendship. In the early days of 
the Community a lady travelling on the G.W.R. on 
her first journey to St. Mary's Home met a fellow- 
traveller who, finding out her destination, talked 
much of Mr. Butler, and warned her to beware of 
him and his religious opinions, for " he was a very 
dangerous man." Afterwards, when the lady became 
well acquainted with the Vicar, he heard the 
story, and when she left the Home he presented 
her with a copy of his Sermons for Working Men, 
having written below her name, " from a dangerous 

His advice and sympathy were always ready for 
those who sought them, and in latter years he 
helped many associates by annually conducting a 
Retreat for them, which work he continued till the 
last year of his life. 

One who attended several of these says : 

There were one or two special marks of his teaching in 

1. It was so bracing, and it made one return to one's duties 
in the world with a steady determination to go out and carry 
on bravely the Christian warfare. 

2. It was essentially practical. It was to be the doing the 
will of God, feelings were nothing; the text was, "If ye love 
Me, keep My commandments." 

Fresh resolutions were to be put in practice at once they 
were to be something very simple, something one could set 
up in one's heart, which would stand firm, strong, untouched, 
and which one could bear with one to the grave. 

3. Always, but especially in his three last Retreats, there 


was strong teaching on the Church, and loyalty to the Prayer 
Book. Religion was set up before us as a strong stern thing, 
and what we had to do was to strive after honest simple 
obedience to rule not self-pleasing, but endeavouring in all 
things to do what pleased God. 

4. His high ideal of woman's work, viz. the calming, puri- 
fying, and elevating of society. He impressed upon his hearers, 
that to woman belongs the formation of the character of all 
around her, her children, her servants, etc. On woman also 
depends in a very great degree the whole happiness of the 
circle in which she lives, and on her far more than on the 
man depends the spiritual life of the family. He unhesitat- 
ingly asserted that if society is corrupt, then it is the woman's 
fault. Man may tempt, but it is for the woman to be faithful 
and firm, and by her faithfulness she will help man to mend 
his ways, and lead him on in all that is holy and pure and good. 

5. The Bible knowledge gained. This was a very distinct 
feature, and one always went forth from his Retreats with a 
sense that one had made several strides forward in the know- 
ledge of the Bible. 

Lastly, cheerfulness, hopefulness, faithfulness, was the last 
word to us as we were about to go out of Retreat. 

Another associate writes : 

The notice of what proved to be his last Retreat for the 
associates at the Home reached me in Florence. I had never 
before been free to attend one, so I arranged my journey at 
once and set off, arriving in time for one of the most helpful 
few days of my life. The depth and yet the simplicity of 
the addresses, and the wonderfully beautiful prayers at the 
end of each, can be known only to those who heard them, for 
it was always the way he said things as much as what he 
said that was so impressive. Busy as he was up to literally 
the last moment, he found time for a few minutes conversa- 
tion at the end of the Retreat. He was standing one foot 
on a chair all ready to go away, quite worn out, but bright 
and interested as usual. I told him my special trouble, and 

it was indeed perplexing. His answer was, "My dear , 

pray about it ! " And these, his last words, will suit every 
time, every place, every circumstance. 


His training, writes another, was bracing, and I think I might 
venture to say that the distinctive notes of most of those who 
were formed under his guidance are cheerfulness and common 
sense. He always set himself against any kind of morbid 
melancholy, or even any that was not morbid. He would not 
have people ever brood over grief, or go on sorrowing for 
what was irremediable. " It is no use crying over spilt milk " 
was one of his oft-repeated sayings ; another, " Je pleure mon 
Albert gaiement," the words of Alexandrine de la Ferronays. 1 
He could sympathise most tenderly with sorrow in the first 
instance, but he could say something sharp if the sorrow was 
prolonged beyond what he thought right and reasonable. He 
set himself against moodiness or depression, or the sort of 
melancholy in which young women sometimes indulge about 
not being understood, not being sympathised with, and so forth. 
Indeed he gave no quarter to any sort of sentimentality what- 
ever. He was very encouraging to those who were willing to 
do their best, but were discouraged by failures. His sense of 
humour came into his training, and he did not hesitate to use 
a grotesque word or ludicrous illustration where it expressed 
his meaning, or was likely to impress it on the mind of his 

His continual teaching was the acceptance of God's will in 
all things, and at all times. " Let ' Thy will be done ' be your 
moral tonic." When he received a telegram summoning him 
home on account of sudden and serious illness, he said, " There 
is nothing for it but what I am always saying to you all* 
'Fiat voluntas Tua.'" . . . Those who did not know him 
intimately could have no idea of his great tenderness of heart. 
In real trouble, real difficulty, real sorrow, he was ever ready, 
and one never went away empty. 

The understanding he had about illness or weak health was 
sometimes almost unexpectedly striking, and especially so the 
last three years before his death. He was so hard upon himself 
that one was surprised at the way in which he entered into 
the difficulties of bodily weakness, but he did so to a very mar- 
vellous extent. And when he advised laxity for a time, one 
felt one could trust him because he was so hard and self-denying 
himself. In one of his last conversations he deplored the laxity 
1 R6dt d'une Sceur, par M me - Augustus Craven, vol. ii., p. 385. 


of the present age as compared with the times of Keble, Pusey, 
Marriott, etc., and quoted the texts, " Endure hardness, as a 
good soldier of Jesus Christ," " When Jeshurun waxed fat he 
kicked." . . . He always tried to develop individual tastes 
in those under his training by suggesting books and employ- 
ments suited to them. His whole life was full of thought and 
care for others ; such little matters as a careful and prompt 
answer to every letter were never overlooked by him. 

Another writes : 

I think it was the combination of holiness and love in the 
character of the late Dean of Lincoln which attracted people to 
him. When I first knew him, more than twenty years ago, I 
was more struck by his brilliant gifts of conversation, his acute 
eager concentration of mind on argument, and the sense of 
controlled power, which was evident to any one who was in his 
society ; but the better I came to understand him, the deeper 
became the impression of his great personal holiness. He was 
quite unconscious of the effect it produced, he never seemed to 
think at all about himself in his intercourse with others, his sole 
desire was to make them good and happy servants of God. 
His own life had been devoted to his Creator from early man- 
hood, and he was able " with a heart at leisure from itself" to 
throw his whole energy into setting forth the glory of his Master, 
and exhibiting as fully as possible the method of the English 
Church for winning souls. His standard for himself and others 
was a high one to attain it meant giving up a good deal, but then 
he was so certain of ultimate peace and consolation, that it gave 
courage and hope ; he always braced, never depressed the heart. 
The Presence of God ruled his life, and especially his intercourse 
with others ; this prevented all ' sentiment,' or dwelling upon his 
personal sympathy (tender and deep as it was), and raised the 
soul nearer to the source of all love and pity. 

I was going through a great spiritual crisis during part of the 
time we were friends, and was led to consult him, not in the way 
that many persons did, in confession, but as an adviser. As soon 
as he realised that my doubts were real and not affected, he took 
me in hand, and with the most touching patience and unfailing 
kindness helped me ; he wrote constantly, entered into every 
difficulty, and guided me till, after some years, the light came. 


The only rule he gave was "Persevere, live exactly as if you 
believed." The clearness and strength of his faith of course 
steadied mine. I will copy here a prayer he sent me, which 
probably he used in the case of others. "Almighty God, in 
Whom our fathers hoped and were delivered, and put their trust 
and were not confounded, have mercy upon me Thy much tried 
and troubled child and servant, and help me to find peace and 
rest. Remove from me (if it seem good to Thee) the cloud of 
doiibt and distrust which oppresses me ; open my heart to faith 
and hope and love ; teach me to know Thee Who and as Thou art ; 
and if it seem good to Thee that even through my whole earthly 
pilgrimage I should never pass from darkness and sorrow into 
light and joy, do Thou Thyself hold me fast to Thee, and bring me 
at last to the glorious vision of Thy brightness and glory, where 
Faith and Hope can no longer totter, nor Love fail; through 
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." 

It is quite impossible to describe his sympathy. He always 
prayed for his friends, and I recollect his saying once of some 
one who had died, " Forget ! how could I forget 1 When one 
prayed twice a day for him for years. Now, I shall only put him 
the other side of my prayers." This habit kept his interest warm 
and keen, and to the end of his life he never omitted writing in 
every crisis of joy or sorrow that came to me or mine. We 
talked a great deal of many things, his and my work but he 
never dwelt upon the former, except in connection with the 
Sisters, or those who carried on the many branches he had 
originated at Wantag eand elsewhere. One letter mentioned his 
thankful joy at having been spared to communicate in the church 
of his baptism (St. Marylebone). I fancy he had not been in it 
for seventy years. His joyous nature, the ceaseless activity of 
his life, his tender compassionate sympathy, his strong will 
subdued by God, have ended as far as this world is concerned ; 
but he is nearer than ever to the everlasting Love and Purity of 
his Lord. 

The increased distance from Wantage of his home, 
first at Worcester and then at Lincoln, together 
with his advancing years, made him consider the 
question of laying down some portion of his charge ; 


but happily he was never called upon to decide 
which of those many interests, so dear to him, he 
should let go. It was his desire to retain his 
relations to the Community which he said was 
dearer to him than his own life, as long as his 
life was spared ; but it was this work which specially 
taxed his strength during his latter years, and 
made him consider seriously during the last few 
months of his life whether he could continue the 
burden of it, and the very frequent and long 
journeys which it involved ; for, except at the time 
of his annual holiday, he seldom let more than 
three weeks pass without being at Wantage. While 
he was there in November, 1893, the Archbishop 
of Canterbury (Dr. Benson), who was staying in 
the neighbourhood, came to see St. Mary's Home. 
It occasioned deep joy to the founder that the work 
he had so lovingly reared to the glory of God 
should receive the blessing of the head of the 
English Church, and it was, as it were, the placing 
of the last stone on the edifice he had been instru- 
mental in rearing. The Archbishop alluded to his 
own pleasure in a note he wrote to the Dean 
shortly after:. "What a welcome at Wantage, and 
what a gift to light on you there." 

One more visit in Advent which, at the time, im- 
pressed some with a feeling as of a farewell, and 
Christmas letters interchanged (loving words to the 
Sisters in India were among the last he wrote)- 
brought his earthly work for the Community to 
a close. In the words of the Bishop of Lincoln : 


"At his Lord's command he had worked, at his 
Lord's command he was ready to die. He had not 
striven to win souls to himself but to Christ, and 
to Him, without one single word of fear or anxiety, 
he resigned all that mysterious spiritual work in 
which for so many years he had been ceaselessly 



MY first sight of my future Vicar was at Eton in 1858 
or 1859. He used to visit his son, who was older, 
and three divisions higher in school, than I was. I 
remember well the first time I saw him walking 
quickly along past Williams' shop. I think I must 
have been told already that "Butler at Balston's" was 
the son of the Vicar of Wantage, but I am not sure 
that I knew even as much as that. At any rate his 
appearance struck me as different from that of any of 
the High Church clergy I had seen before, such as 
Archdeacon Denison and Mr. Carter. He was much 
more like the ideal I had formed of a mediaeval or 
foreign ecclesiastic, and seemed to embody those 
vague possibilities of what was hidden in the English 
Prayer Book, which were so attractive to many young 
people at that time. I had a good look at him soon 
after, during some lecture at which he was present in 
the Mathematical School, and then, as I watched the 
eager, active play of his face and lips, and the restless 
(not to say dangerous) swing of his foot, a certain fear 

1 Various illustrative letters, etc., have been inserted in this narra- 
tive. These interpolations are marked by brackets. 



began to be mixed with the unique attractiveness 
which he inspired. 

Both feelings remain still, the sense that there 
never was any one quite like him, and the conviction 
that his displeasure was a serious thing to reckon 
with ; though from a date not much later than 1858 
they have been united with grateful affection. 

When I went up to Oxford in 1864, my friend, 
Montague Noel, was just moving to Wantage from 
his first curacy. 1 The Vicar encouraged him to ask 
his undergraduate friends to Wantage, and he was the 
more disposed to take a kindly interest in me, because 
I was a pupil of James Kiddell, who had prepared 
him to see a " clumsy Christian." A third link with 
Wantage was found for me in Father S. W. O'Neill. 
I had been "up to " him in school at a time when, as 
a deacon, he was still in the Windsor rifle corps, and 
before his title at Clewer had brought him into 
contact with the Catholic teaching which he at once 
assimilated. Part of the time between his resignation 
of his Mathematical Mastership at Eton and his 
admission to the Cowley Society, was spent by him 
as Curate of Wantage, and surely it is not the least 

I 1 Extract from a letter to Rev. M. H. Noel, from Rev. H. P. 
Liddon, dated 16th Sunday after Trinity, 1865 : " What you say 
about the Vicar delights me. It is precisely my own feeling ; after a 
lapse of eleven years I look back to my curate life at Wantage with 
the most genuine pleasure, as to a time when, in the best sense of the 
term, the sun was shining. You will gather up a great deal of 
spiritual and practical experience to make use of in after life. . . . 
But much of the benefit of contact with a good man cannot be reduced 
to writing : it is the insensible though real action of spirit and 
character of which we can only measure the drift and power after 
some considerable lapse of time."] 


of the blessings which came to Wantage with the 
Vicar that it should have a share in the memories, 
experiences, and prayers of so simple and devoted a 
saint as Simeon Wilberforce O'Neill. 

What struck me most in the parish when I was at 
last able to see it ? I am bound to say that I was 
much more ready than I ought to have been to criti- 
cise as well as admire what I saw. It was Noel's 
mission to " bring things on," and my sympathies 
were entirely with him. Even then (and much more 
now), the Vicar's power of using an enthusiasm which 
he controlled while he used it, seemed to me very 
remarkable. He always appreciated Noel's character ; 
and indeed the special work which St. Barnabas has 
done in Oxford owes very much to his Wantage 
training. In return, it may be noted, that in later 
days, when the Dean was far from pleased with the 
Ritualists, he was always willing to preach at St. 
Barnabas, and always remained a warm friend and 
helper to Noel. 1 

[*On Sept. 22nd, 1877, the Vicar wrote to Kev. M. H. Noel recom- 
mending the avoiding of things " needlessly irritating," and added : 
" We do not enough realise the tremendous task which we have set 
ourselves, viz. to deprotestantise a nation practically unbelieving, 
which instinctively feels that Protestantism is like itself, and therefore 
makes it its religion." On April 26th, 1892, he wrote : " I am 
delighted to hear how well things go with you. But you really 
deserve that they should go well, and you take the right way of 
making them go well. My three rules of Faith, Prayer, and Grind, 
are yours also, and they always, so far as I have seen, succeed. . . . 
I have marked October 23rd to preach." And on August 18th, 1893 
in answer to a request for a sermon at the Dedication Festival : 
" Alas ! I have not got a single day in October which is not filled with 
some tormenting engagement. I quite dread the thought of it, and 
wish that it were well over. I am always thinking of solve senescentem 


It was then partly as a critic that I arrived at 
Wantage, and my contribution to the facts which will 
give a picture of the Vicar's life is that in spite of my 
undisciplined desires for what "Wantage did not give, 
it was simply impossible to resist the fascination of 
the Vicar's strength and thoroughness. Moreover, 
though desires for coloured stoles and other luxuries 
were repressed, we knew well enough that the Vicar 
was taking pains not to give scandal to the Wantage 
people, and that at the Home he was always on the 
side of development. 

His thoroughness went into everything. He could 
pass by things which he felt did not concern his work 
and duty, when weaker men would have felt con- 
strained to touch them ineffectually, but what he did 
touch he dealt with thoroughly. Though there was 
little show of ritual, the changes and improvements 
all pointed straight to great principles. The chalices, 
patens, and altar-linen were all accurately and fully 
cared for. After Holy Communion, a Thanksgiving 
was always said in the vestry, which included the 
great prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas, Gratias Tibi 
ago. While other people were introducing lights and 
vestments, the Vicar of Wantage bore an almost more 
striking witness to the Keal Presence, by the pro- 
vision of the white houselling-cloth laid along the 

equum ; but no one else seems to think of it, and I have to keep trudg- 
ing on, with everybody's packs on my back. I always enjoy a visit to 
Oxford and St. Barnabas, though the thought of dear Freeling being 
no more with us makes me sad. No one has done better for the 
Church than you. I cannot say how much I admire your steady, 
unflinching work."] 



altar-step at all large Communions. The Daily 
Service was sung with severe adherence to Plain-song, 
not only for the psalms, but on week-days for the 
hymns also, which were taken invariably from the 
Hymnal Noted. 

I need hardly add that the moral severity, the 
appeal to the gospel pattern of life, which Dean 
Church tells us had so much to do with the motive of 
the Oxford Movement, had laid its sacred mark upon 
William Butler and his home. Early rising never 
laid aside, is always impressive to lads, to whom it is 
always difficult, and the wonderful arrangements of 
the first hours of the Vicar's day were more than 
surprising. Before ten o'clock matins he had said 
his prayers, often been at the altar either of the 
Home or the parish church, taken a class of pupil 
teachers, said Terce with his own household, and done 
a good deal towards dealing with the day's letters. 
I can hardly explain how it was, but he was the only 
man whom I remember to have said the Offices as 
quickly as he did without irreverence. I suppose it 
was that you felt he was not hurrying for any reason 
except to get more time for other things done unques- 
tionably for the glory of God. Other good men have 
given an example of reverence, but his example of it 
was special in that he was so truly human in all his 
talk and ways. His stories, even when they were 
almost avowedly repeated again and again, convulsed 
us all, with the best possible conscience ; he could 
turn from business, discussion, playfulness, to say 
prayers without any loss of dignity to himself or the 

1 864 A LENTEN GRACE 179 

supreme cause which he always represented. Prayer, 
though his utterance was alert, quick, bracing, to 
those whom he led, always entailed a real sacrifice of 
time and energy. Matins and evensong could never, 
I think, have been omitted, though sometimes the 
pauses between the departure of one penitent and the 
entrance of another, when he was hearing confessions, 
were thus utilised. His well-worn Bible and his 
Latin Paradisus were always at hand, and yielded 
up their treasures to the intent eye, and firm grasp, 
which showed how even a few moments during the 
reading of a Lesson, or the short pauses in the 
Eucharist, were used to the best effect. 

It was characteristic of the Vicar to disapprove of 
Total Abstinence, and of a too rigorous devotion to fish 
on Fridays, but every meal, hearty as he was, was 
touched by habitual discipline, and no one could 
have doubted the fitness and reality of the grace 
which he always said in Lent a humble deprecation 
of severe judgement on our unworthy following of 
our Lord and His saints. 1 

Two things you certainly soon heard of, whoever 
you were, if you spent any time at Wantage, the 
schools and the communicant classes. These were 

[ J This grace was : "Blessed Lord, Who for our sake didst fast 
forty days and forty nights, and hast given grace to many of Thy 
saints to follow Thee in watchings often, in fastings often : Grant to 
us whose faith is imperfect and bodies less subdued, grace to follow 
Thee more distantly in a contrite and humble spirit, and grant that 
the sense of this our weakness which we meekly confess before Thee, 
may in the end add strength to our faith and seriousness to our 
repentance ; Who livest and reignest ever one God world without 
end. Amen."] 


the Vicar's delight, and he told you about them and 
let you see his methods, with almost boyish pleasure. 
The school prayers, modelled on Prime, as the family 
prayers were on Terce, and carefully sung morning by 
morning, lay at the root of his system. His daily 
teaching of the pupil teachers, the constant reports 
brought to him week by week, and often day by day, 
of attendance and other matters, by the head teachers, 
his frequent visits to the schools, secured his influ- 
ence on the whole work. It has often been remarked 
that he succeeded with girls, perhaps with women, 
better than with men, though this latter statement 
can only be made with very real qualifications. I 
have heard him say many times that in the upper 
classes the women were better than the men, and in 
the lower the men were better than the women, 
because among the poor the money was in the hands 
of the wife, and among the rich in the hands of the 
husband. I think this saying of his points to facts 
in his own experience ; he succeeded pre-eminently 
with educated women ; he did more with working- 
men than with rich men. 

Others will have spoken of the foundation of the 
Community of St. Mary. But the Sisters themselves 
cannot look at this great work from outside, and I 
may be allowed to bear my testimony to the impres- 
sion which the Dean's tender and manly guidance of 
the Sisters left upon those outside the Community. 

It is, I suppose, one of the great Christian para- 
doxes that good men must always feel debts of 
infinite obligation to the example and influence of 


holy women, and yet recognise that the man's relation 
to the woman is that of a ruler and guide. " The 
head of the woman is the man." If I am not mis- 
taken, the Dean has left a pattern, almost ideal, to 
all who are called to discharge the delicate and im- 
portant work of the pastor of a religious female 
Community. He built up the Community of St. 
Mary because he never allowed his self-depreciating 
reverence to degenerate into weakness. 

If the great work of his life was the foundation of 
the Community of St. Mary, I believe that his en- 
couragement largely helped Father Benson's venture 
upon the similar undertaking for men at Cowley St. 
John. The educated men whom he did influence 
certainly found that his help was as unique as it was 
excellent. But it was on women that his best 
strength and most constant pains were spent, and 
probably no man was ever more entirely the true 
pastor in all his strong, fatherly, reverent dealings 
with them. 

Every priest who has found himself responsible for 
a genuine parochial charge, after having formed his 
convictions on the principles of the Anglo-Catholic 
revival, has been compelled to consider what place 
the doctrine and practice of confession ought to hold 
in his work. To such a man the value of it will 
probably be, as it was to the Vicar of Wantage, a 
matter of happy experience, and the desire to offer 
to others what has been a great blessing to himself, 
must be very strong. At the same time, the pre- 
judice against confession, still strong in the English 


mind, must have seemed, when William Butler began 
his ministry, almost impregnable. This being so, 
many clergy who practised it for their own good, 
never mentioned it in their public teaching. Others, 
determined to escape the questionings and self- 
reproaches which silence seemed to entail, taught 
confession with hardly any hope that their teaching 
would be accepted. But to hold back a means of 
grace from his flock, and to relieve his own responsi- 
bility by a profitless and harmful defiance of popular 
opinion, were alike alien to the Vicar's mind. He did 
what some few other men of like character did also. He 
abstained from speaking of confession in his Sunday 
sermons, or hearing confessions in church. Those 
most closely connected with his work, Sisters and 
clergy, he drew to his own practice, and upheld them 
in it. In the system of penitence arranged for those 
who were the first charge of the Sisters, and occasion- 
ally, in special cases amongst his parishioners, he used 
confession, and when he did use it, his mode of 
ministration was most thorough and definite, but he 
never expected that it would become familiar to the 
mass of his people. What seems to me characteristic 
of him is that he believed that some of the advantages 
of the universal recognition of confession, as part of 
Church discipline, could be obtained by his communi- 
cant classes. The connexion may not seem obvious, 
as it must be clearly understood that no questions 
were asked at the classes ; they were not on the 
Methodist plan, but rather partook of the nature of 
what are now called Meditations and Instructions. 


Yet the fact remains that when he was asked what he 
hoped to do about confession, he often referred at 
once to the classes, no doubt partly because he hoped 
that some of those who attended them would take the 
opportunity of remaining for confession, but also 
because he felt that the really pastoral relation, which 
as distinct from the forgiveness of deadly sin, is 
one of the chief advantages of systematic confession, 
might thus be obtained. 

It may be doubted whether his solution of a very 
difficult problem is beyond criticism, but that he 
should have sought to secure as much of the essential 
advantage as he could, when the complete attainment 
of his aim was impossible, seems to me charac- 
teristic of one of the most prominent and admirable 
principles of his life. 

[His matured views on this subject may be gathered 
from a letter to Canon Carter, and the printed 
declaration which he signed in company with others 
of the same school of thought. 


TKNBY, Sept. 10, 1873. 

I most willingly authorise you to append my name to those 
who sign the paper on Confession. Having said this, I will 
add that I think that it lacks the terseness and neatness of 
that which we sent out some six years ago on the subject of 
the Real Presence. That declaration fairly cauterised the 
wound. Nothing serious has been done since. Even the Arch- 
bishop (Longley) admitted that it had compelled him to revise 
his opinion as to what the Church of England permits, "though," 
he added, "I am an old gentleman, and I cannot change my 
own private views." Could not then this declaration be reduced 
into a few balanced and well-guarded sentences ? People will 
read what is short but not what is long. . . . 



We, the undersigned, Priests of the Church of England, 
considering that serious misapprehensions as to the teaching 
of the Church of England on the subject of Confession and 
Absolution are widely prevalent, and that these misapprehen- 
sions lead to serious evils, hereby declare, for the truth's sake, 
and in the fear of God, what we hold and teach on the subject, 
with special reference to the points which have been brought 
under discussion. 

1. We believe and profess, that Almighty God has promised 
forgiveness of sins, through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, 
to all who turn to Him, with true sorrow for sin, out of unfeigned 
and sincere love to Him, with lively faith in Jesus Christ, and 
with full purpose of amendment of life. 

2. We also believe and profess, that our Lord Jesus Christ 
has instituted in His Church a special means for the remission 
of sin after Baptism, and for the relief of consciences, which 
special means the Church of England retains and administers 
as part of her Catholic heritage. 

3. We affirm that to use the language of the Homily 
"Absolution has the promise of forgiveness of sin," 1 although, 
the Homily adds, " by the express word of the New Testament 
it hath not this promise annexed and tied to the visible sign, 
which is imposition of hands," and "therefore," it says, "Absolu- 
tion is no such Sacrament as Baptism and the Communion are." 2 
We hold it to be clearly impossible, that the Church of England 
in Art. xxv. can have meant to disparage the ministry of 
Absolution any more than she can have meant to disparage 
the Rites of Confirmation and Ordination, which she solemnly 
administers. We believe that God through Absolution confers 
an inward spiritual grace and the authoritative assurance of His 
forgiveness on those who receive it with faith and repentance, 
as in Confirmation and Ordination He confers grace on those 
who rightly receive the same. 

4. In our Ordination, as Priests of the Church of England, 
the words of our Lord to His Apostles " Receive ye the Holy 
Ghost; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto 

1 Homily " of Common Prayer and Sacraments." 2 Ibid. 


them, and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained " were 
applied to us individually. Thus it appears, that the Church 
of England considers this Commission to be not a temporary 
endowment of the Apostles, but a gift lasting to the end of 
time. It was said to each of us, "Receive the Holy Ghost 
for the office and work of a Priest in the Church of God, now 
committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands"; and then 
followed the words, " Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are 
forgiven, and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained." 1 
5. We are not here concerned with the two forms of Absolu- 
tion which the Priest is directed to pronounce after the general 
confession of sins in the Morning and Evening Prayer, and in 
the Communion Service. The only form of words provided for 
us in the Book of Common Prayer for applying the absolving 
power to individual souls runs thus : " Our Lord Jesus Christ, 
Who hath left power to His Church to absolve all sinners who 
truly repent and believe in Him, of His great Mercy forgive 
thee thine offences ; and by His authority committed to me 
I absolve thee from all thy sins, in the Name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." 2 Upon this 
we remark, first, that in these words forgiveness of sins is 
ascribed to our Lord Jesus Christ; yet that the Priest, acting 
by a delegated authority, and as an instrument, does through 
these words convey the absolving grace ; and, secondly, that 
the absolution from sins cannot be understood to be the removal 
of any censures of the Church, because (a) the sins from which 
the penitent is absolved are presupposed to be sins known 
previously to himself and God only ; (b) the words of the Latin 
form relating to those censures are omitted in our English form ; 
and (c) the release from excommunication is in Art. xxxiii. re- 
served to "a Judge that hath authority thereunto." 

6. This provision, moreover, shows that the Church of England, 
when speaking of " the benefit of absolution," and empowering 
her Priests to absolve, means them to use a definite form of 
absolution, and does not merely contemplate a general reference 
to the promises of the Gospel. 

7. In the Service for "the Visitation of the Sick" the Church 
of England orders that the sick man shall even "be moved to 

1 "The Form and Manner of Ordering of Priests." 

2 " The Order for the Visitation of the Sick." 


make a special Confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience 
troubled with any weighty matter." When the Church requires 
that the sick man should, in such case, be moved to make a 
special Confession of his sins, we cannot suppose her thereby 
to rule that her members are bound to defer to a death-bed 
(which they may never see) what they know to be good for 
their souls. We observe that the words, "be moved to," were 
added in 1661, and that therefore at the last revision of the 
Book of Common Prayer the Church of England affirmed the 
duty of exhorting to Confession in certain cases more strongly 
than at the date of the Keformation, probably because the 
practice had fallen into abeyance during the Great Rebellion. 

8. The Church of England also, holding it "requisite that 
no man should come to the Holy Communion, but with a full 
trust in God's mercy, and with a quiet conscience," commands 
the Minister to bid "any" one who "cannot quiet his own 
conscience herein," to come to him, or " to some other discreet 
and learned Minister of God's Word, and open his grief; that 
by the ministry of God's Holy Word he may receive the benefit 
of absolution, together with," and therefore as distinct from, 
"ghostly counsel and advice"; 1 and since she directs that this- 
invitation should be repeated in giving warning of Holy Com- 
munion, and Holy Communion is constantly offered to all, it 
follows that the use of Confession may be, at least in some 
cases, of not unfrequent occurrence. 

9. We believe that the Church left it to the consciences of 
individuals, according to their sense of their needs, to decide 
whether they would confess or not, as expressed in that chari- 
table exhortation of the First English Prayer Book, " requiring 
such as shall be satisfied with a general Confession, not to be 
offended with them that do use, to their further satisfying, the 
auricular and secret Confession to the Priest ; nor those also, 
which think needful or convenient, for the quietness of their 
own consciences, particularly to open their sins to the Priest, 
to be offended with them that are satisfied with their humble 
Confession to God, and the general Confession to the Church : 
but in all things to follow and keep the rule of Charity ; and 
every man to be satisfied with his own conscience, not judging 
other men's minds or consciences ; whereas he hath no warrant 

1 Exhortation in the Service for Holy Communion. 


of God's Word to the same." And although this passage was 
omitted in the second Prayer Book, yet that its principle was 
not repudiated, may be gathered from the "Act for the Uni- 
formity of Service" (1552), which, while authorizing the second 
Prayer Book, asserts the former book to be "agreeable to the 
Word of God and the primitive Church." 

10. We would further observe, that the Church of England 
has nowhere limited the occasions upon which her Priests should 
exercise the office which she commits to them at their ordina- 
tion ; and that to command her Priests in two of her Offices 
to hear confessions if made, cannot be construed negatively 
into a command not to receive confessions on any other occasions. 
But, in fact (see above No. 7, 8), the two occasions specified 
do practically comprise the whole of the adult life. A succession 
of Divines of great repute in the Church of England, from the 
very time when the English Prayer Book was framed, speak 
highly of Confession, without limiting the occasions upon which, 
or the frequency with which, it should be used; and the 
113th Canon, framed in the Convocation of 1603, recognized 
Confession as a then existing practice, in that it decreed under 
the severest penalties, that "if any man confess his secret and 
hidden sins to the Minister for the unburdening of his con- 
science, and to receive spiritual consolation and ease of mind 
from him ; . . . the said Minister ... do not at any time 
reveal and make known to any person whatsoever any crime 
or offence so committed to his trust and secrecy, (except they 
be such crimes as by the laws of this realm his own life may 
be called into question for concealing the same)." 

11. While then we hold that the formularies of the Church 
of England do not authorize any Priest to teach that private 
Confession is a condition indispensable to the forgiveness of 
sin after Baptism, and that the Church of England does not 
justify any Parish Priest in requiring private Confession as- 
a condition of receiving Holy Communion, we also hold that 
all who, under the circumstances above stated, claim the 
privileges of private Confession, are entitled to it, and that the 
Clergy are directed under certain circumstances to ' move ' persons 
to such Confession. In insisting on this, as the plain meaning 
of the authorized language of the Church of England, we believe 
ourselves to be discharging our duty as her faithful Ministers. 


Ash well, A. R., Canon of Chichester. 

Baker, Henry W., Vicar of Monkland. 

Bartholomew, Ch. Ch., Vicar of Cornwood, and Rural Dean of Plymton. 

Benson, R. M., Incumbent of Cowley S. John, Oxford. 

Butler, William J., Vicar of "Wantage, and Rural Dean. 

Carter, T. T., Rector of Clewer. 

Chambers, J. C., Vicar of S. Mary's, Soho. 

Churton, Edw., Rector of Crayke, and Archdeacon of Cleveland. 

Denison, George A., Vicar of East Brent, and Archdeacon of Taunton. 

Galton, J. L., Rector of S. Sidwell's, Exeter. 

Gilbertson, Lewis, Rector of Braunston. 

Grey, Francis R., Rector of Morpeth. 

Grueber, C. L., Vicar of S. James', Hambridge. 

Keble, Thos., jun., Bisley. 

King, Edward, D.D., Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. 

Liddell, Robert, Incumbent of S. Paul's, Knightsbridge. 

Liddon, H. P., D.D., Canon of S. Paul's, London. 

MacColl, M., Rector of S. Botolph, Billingsgate, London. 

Mackonochie, A. H., Perpetual Curate of S. Alban's, Holborn. 

Mayow, M. W., Rector of Southam, and Rural Dean. 

Medd, P. G., Senior Fellow of University College, Oxford. 

Murray, F. H., Rector of Chislehurst. 

Pusey, E. B., D.D., Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. 

Randall, R. W., Incumbent of All Saints, Clifton. 

Sharp, John, Vicar of Horbury. 

Skinner, James, Vicar of Newlands, Great Malvern. 

White, G. C., Vicar of S. Barnabas, Pimlico. 

Williams, G., Vicar of Ring wood. 

Wilson, R. F., Vicar of Rownhams, Southampton.] 

I have mentioned that the Vicar was one of the 
earliest friends of the Society of St. John the Evan- 
gelist. He himself became an associate of the 
Society, and the American Father Grafton, now 
Bishop of Fond-du-lac, one of its earliest members, 
took a Retreat at the Home soon after his arrival in 
England. Thus, in the case of one of the highest 
and most single-minded efforts springing out of 
the Oxford Movement, the help which it would 
be natural to expect from so powerful a personal- 
ity as that of the Vicar of Wantage, being, as he 
was, in full sympathy with the movement, was not 
wanting. This leads to the consideration of his re- 


lation in general to the University and the Diocese. 
He used to say that he could imagine no lot more 
happy than that of a man who was a member of the 
University of Cambridge, and lived fourteen miles, 
from Oxford. Others have contributed their know- 
ledge of his Cambridge life and associations. He often 
spoke of his first acquaintance with the Tractarian 
teaching having been due to his friend Philip 
Freeman, afterwards Archdeacon of Exeter. They 
went together on a reading party to the Lakes. 
Each was to take one book for recreation, and when 
it occurred to Butler to exchange with his friend, it 
was the Christian Year that fell into his hands. 

The late Dr. Luard's 1 was the name I remember 
associating most closely with his visits to Cambridge, 
and I well remember his interest in a course of 
University sermons which he preached there, while 
I was curate at Wantage. They were, I think, to 
have been on some subjects connected with the 
Person of our Lord ; but finally the Vicar took the 
Trials of our Lord, a subject which his habitual 
treatment of the Gospel narratives in Passion-tide 
had made familiar to him. 

I believe his sermons at Cambridge did their work, 
as certainly did some which he preached in Oxford ; 
but with all his great interest in literature and his love 
for the Universities, his was not an academical mind. 
No man was ever more relentlessly bent on testing 
theory by practice, and Common Rooms, patient of 
many theories, pause when a rapid and decisive 

1 Registrary of the University. 


transition from the abstract to the concrete is pressed 
upon them. Perhaps, too, some of the epigrammatic 
attacks, which were among the Dean's most effective 
weapons, " Are you a sacerdotalist or a Plymouth 
Brother ? " would be least effective in academic 
society. But the witness of Wantage to the possi- 
bility of carrying Church principles into practice 
was not lost upon Oxford. It was his way to make 
much of special friends, and his relations with a place 
or a group would be through the friends who linked 
him to it. His special and dearest friend in the 
University, James Eiddell, was taken from him and 
from Oxford when his brilliant career was only 
approaching its fulness. Those who remember will 
not doubt that any man who had his usual resting- 
place in Oxford in Eiddell's rooms in Balliol, was 
worthy of the best that Oxford had to give. 1 

This may be the place to say a word as to William 
Butler's relations with Bishop Wilberforce. The two 

[ J The publication of a poem on "Balliol Scholars," by Principal 
Shairp, of St. Andrews, gave great pleasure to the Vicar by the terms 
in which James Riddell was spoken of. He wrote to express his 
gratification to the Professor, who thus replied : " I have heard of 
you often from dear C. E. Prichard. The way he used to speak of 
Wantage and the life lived there remains ineffaceably on my memory. 
I think it was at an earlier time that he used to go there than those 
visits of James Riddell to which you allude. Thank you for giving 
me those strangely touching words with which you say that James 
Riddell closed his last sermon in your church. They are so very like 
himself. I had two years ago, from C. W. Furse, notes of another 
sermon he preached on a Good Friday in his church, which contained 
much of bis beautiful spirit. My visits to England are now few and 
at wide intervals. I don't see much chance of my being able to get to 
Wantage, greatly as I should wish to do so. But, as you say, com- 
munity of friends makes friends, and for the sake of those whom we 
have loved and lost, I shall always think of you as of an unseen friend."] 


men understood each other as only men of action can. 
Their bright amusing conversation was that of those 
who shared the relaxation earned by the toil which 
both knew well. Nevertheless, the Vicar of Wantage 
was not simply one of Bishop Wilberforce's men. He 
loved his Bishop and served him loyally, but it was 
not on the Bishop's teaching that his convictions 
were formed. To many who did not look below the 
surface, it may have seemed that Samuel Wilberforce 
was a genuine disciple of the Revival. I remember 
the spot in Oxford where in 1868 a man just taking 
his degree, who has since had a foremost place in our 
Church life, said, " I have been brought up to look 
upon the Bishop of Oxford and Dr. Pusey as being 
the same thing : I am just beginning to see that their 
line is different." Where that difference becomes 
defined, William Butler stands on the side of Dr. 
Pusey and not of Bishop Wilberforce. Apart from 
the truth, as I believe it to be, of the stronger 
position, the Dean's adherence to it exhibits the true 
greatness of his character. As I have said already, 
no man ever gave closer heed to the probabilities of 
success in restoration and development of Church 
life. His hand always touched the pulse of his 
parish. No fear of seeming weak ever forced his 
hand. But it was just because his mind was entirely 
made up on the central doctrines of the Revival that 
he could afford to be patient. He did not need to 
prove the strength of an immature conviction by 
forcing it into rash action. At the bottom he ever 
held those sacerdotal doctrines, which, distinct as 


they are from the tendencies which really make for 
the Roman theory, are, and were still more, forty 
years ago, thoroughly unpopular in England. 

The two things for the sake of which High 
Churchmen have been forced to sacrifice oppor- 
tunities of reaching their fellow-countrymen, are the 
claim of an integral place in the pastoral system for 
voluntary confession, and the belief in the reality of 
the inward part of the Holy Sacrament, apart from 
reception. On both these points it was the advan- 
tage, as regards success, the weakness, as regards 
consistency, of Bishop Wilberforce, to be, perhaps 
at the verge of it, but still undoubtedly on the 
popular side, and he was well aware that this advan- 
tage or defect was not shared by Butler. Something 
has already been said about his views as to con- 
fession. Roughly they came to this, that it was 
desirable for all who could believe in it, almost 
indispensable for the perfection of the clerical and 
the religious life, so desirable for some who had 
fallen deeply, as to make it necessary to be bold in 
propounding it. It was only his intensely practical 
habit of mind which hindered the Vicar from pressing 
it where he knew it was impossible to carry it, and 
where he trusted that the fact of such impossibility 
pointed to the guidance of the Divine Will. 

No doubt this position far exceeds the limits 
allowed by Bishop Wilberforce, in his published 
utterances, to the use of confession. Far more did 
his position fall short of that to which the Vicar's 
deliberate conviction had led him on the matter of 


the Real Presence. The Bishop was, no doubt, in 
this matter a genuine follower of Hooker, or, to be 
accurate, of Hooker's teaching in the fifth book of 
his Ecclesiastical Polity. The belief in the Real 
Presence as held by Dr. Pusey rested on the force 
of the words of our Lord as interpreted by the 
teachings of the Fathers. Hooker's method was 
rather to consider what is the true purpose of the 
Sacrament, and then to inquire what manner of 
Presence is necessary to that end. This method 
would commend itself to a mind like that of the 
great organising prelate, who may be pardoned if 
in so busy and hard-pressed a life he sacrificed 
something of the abstract completeness of truth to 
the concrete necessities of his flock. But it was a 
sacrifice which, in this matter at any rate, the 
Vicar could never have endured, because the com- 
plete truth of the Real Presence had made good an 
appeal to the needs and instincts of his own heart, 
and he had been led to see its astonishing power for 
good in the spiritual life of foreign Churches, and 
especially of their religious communities. I think it 
was about the year 1867 that he made a study, during 
his holiday, of some of the Jesuit houses in France. 
I can never forget his account of this tour on his 
return. He had done the thing thoroughly, like 
everything else. He had gone prepared for con- 
troversy, humbly secure that he was doing God's 
work at home, and that it was impossible that he 
could be called to sever his connexion with those 
whom God had taught with and through him, but at 


the same time, with an open mind, ready to learn all 
that the sight of principles just reviving at home, but 
here in France habitually accepted, could teach him. 
Thus when his hosts, stimulated to their most eager 
and demonstrative efforts by the value of one who 
seemed a possible convert of the first rank, pressed 
him with a priori arguments for the Papal monarchy, 
he felt an almost amused pleasure in reminding them 
that the English were never logical, and strong in his 
conviction that their theoretical structures would not 
bear the test of historical fact, bade them grateful 
farewell, while they stretched after him eager hands, 
and kept repeating, " Soyez consequent, monsieur." 

[Some letters written to Mrs. Butler at this period 
describe these visits to the Jesuit Fathers, and also 
show his remarkable power of throwing his mind into 
the subject before him, undistracted by preoccupa- 
tions. For it was during 1867 that, as the following 
chapter will relate, for several months he was await- 
ing the decision of the Archbishop of Canterbury 
on his acceptance or refusal of the See of Natal. 


PARIS, August 16, 1867. 

. . . Well, I am quite converted, and could spend weeks 
in Paris. It is really a wonderful place, and I see no special 
reason to suppose that the devil built it. It was a goodly sight 
last night to see the immense masses of people, perfectly sober 
and orderly, traversing the Place de la Concorde in all directions. 
And the loveliness of the scene was beyond description. There 
was a vast network of lamps festooned from the Tuileries right 
away to the Arc de 1'Etoile all round those waterworks and the 
huge obelisk, and the Rue de Rivoli had two long straight lines of 
light on each side to the very end. The British Embassy was very 



cleverly illuminated, and as for the Prince Napoleon, his house was 
a great blaze of light. Then of course there were ' feux d'artifice,' 
etc. We wandered up and down till we were tired, more astonished 
at the behaviour of the people than anything else. 

I slept like a dormouse dreaming however greatly of 

Colenso, whose pupil had been. He told me a good deal 

about him. He was kind and painstaking, but always broaching 
strange ideas. ... I breakfasted at ten or thereabouts (the 
room was full of compatriots), indulging only in coffee and bread 
and butter; and then I mooned forth to S. Sulpice, to one of 
whose professors, M. Hogan, I had an introduction. He was 
described to me as a French Liddon. Unfortunately he was 
'en vacances' till Oct. 1. I therefore put a bold face on the 
matter and walked straightway to M. le Cure* de S. Sulpice, by 
name Hamon, with my card and letter. He was at home, and 
we had a deal of talk. Of course he drove at me right and 
left to convert me, and this wasted a deal of time. It was 
useless to say, "Monsieur, j'ai pris mon parti j'ai lu tout ce 
qu'il y a a lire," etc. He would return to the great question. 
His point was simply iteration of 'pasce oves meas.' Without 
the Pope no unity no faith. Greeks are schismatics. You are 
mere women-ridden slaves governed by the Court of Admiralty. 
Alas ! you poor Anglicans, we pity you with all our hearts 
(and, suiting the action to the word, he threw his arms round 
me), we love and would fain make you right. You are brought 
up in the midst of prejudice, etc., etc. His arguing was very 
weak, and when I said, "If the Pope is all that you say he is, 
why should there ever have been the General Councils 1 " he 
answered, there never was any real need of General Councils 
the Pope only called them together out of complaisance. Well, 
but, said I, the Council of Constance deposed the Pope. He 
simply denied it. As for S. Cyprian, he tried to make out that 
he gave in to the Pope. Have the goodness, said I, strong in 
my S. Cyprian, to show me the epistle. Surely, in the Council 
of Carthage, he distinctly, with his bishops wrongly, I grant 
decided against the Pope in the matter of heretical baptism. 
He said that he would do so, but did not fulfil his promise. I 
looked on all this as so much lost time, being very anxious to 
talk to him about Confession and various other matters. He 
told me that he had 60,000 people in his parish and 25 curates. 


I am to call to-morrow at 12.30 and be introduced to some 
school Sisterhood. From him I went (with a note from him) 
to les Petites Soeurs des Pauvres, in the Rue de N. D. des 
Champs, and stayed an endless time two or three hours, I think. 
A dear young Irish lady, a nun, took me in tow. I could have 
cried with delight at what I heard and saw. If I were to be 
converted it would be by such sights as that, not by the good 
Father's argument or eloquence. 

The buildings form three sides of a quadrangle the entrance 
being the fourth with a very pretty garden in the middle. I 
observe that a cloister is everywhere ' de rigueur.' They have 
250 old men and women under their roof, all happy and 
apparently good. Wonderful are their arrangements for victuals 
and clothing. I saw a drawer full of crusts, etc. The kitchen 
was a model of neatness. The beds in long rooms as clean 
and comfortable as possible. Each bed had a bolster and two 
pillows with the whitest of counterpanes. The old men were 
playing cards the old women needling. Some were sitting 
in the cloisters, others sunning themselves in the garden. I 
asked heaps of questions which were all answered simply and 
naturally. There are about 1500 Sisters occupying 100 houses. 
They have no money. It is all spent in building. They are 
recruited from the bourgeoisie, with a few Dames de qualite. 
They are all alike, and have to perform two years of novitiate at 
the Mother house. No one is admitted who is older than 35, 
because there is so much hard work to be done. They take 
vows for three years only, and are admitted by the Superieur 
General, a Priest deputed by the Bishop. Next to the Sisters of 
S. Vincent de Paul they are the most flourishing order in 
France. My conductress had been in London originally, but 
had been sent to Paris some four years ago time enough for 
her to talk English in the funniest French fashion and French, 
as she said, well enough to amuse all the rest. 

I saw all the old people in their various rooms, and contrasted 
them mentally with our grumpy old wretches under the benign 

influence of and the Board of Guardians. I am sure that we 

shall never do anything decently till the English Government 
works on very different principles and accepts religion as a 
happyfying thing. The good Sister told me that the deaths of 
these old folk were often most edifying, almost miraculous some- 



times. The Sisters never interfere with them in matters of 
religion. They may be Mahometans, if they like. All this is 
left to the Vicaire of S. Sulpice, deputed by the Cure to look 
after them. 

I lingered on, till I could in decency stay no more, left a 
'piece de dix francs,' and by a circuitous railway route at the 
cost of 4d. and an hour, made for the Exposition, at which 
I had but a little time to spend. It closes at six. I saw how- 
ever a few more interesting things, and then fell in with the 
enormous crowd as they 'debouched' into the Pare which 
surrounds it. I began to be very hungry, and though the 
whole of the huge oval is surrounded with eating places, I 
could not make up my mind to settle down anywhere. The 
waiters seemed pert, and the prices high. At last I espied 
'le grand Restaurant de Suffren' dinner 3 fr - 50 c - with a bottle 
of wine. I entered, had a ticket handed to me by a tall gentle- 
man ('decore'), and asked for a dinner 'en maigre,' which they 
had some difficulty in supplying. By dint, however, of fish 
and 'legumes,' I made it out pretty fairly, and sat wondering 
at the good temper and unwearied waiting of the ' gar9ons,' and 
also at the splendour of the room. Although merely run up 
for the nonce it is lofty, beautifully painted, capable of holding 
400 or 500 people. The arrangements were perfect, and every- 
thing of the very best. Notwithstanding the vast number of 
guests, each was thoroughly cared for. Then I wandered about 
the Pare looking at the quaint buildings, all huddled together 
Japanese, Tunisian, Swiss cottages, models of catacombs, an 
Egyptian temple. It is enough to turn one into a little Alice, 1 
and as the evening began to set in, I walked homewards along 
the Seine for about a couple of miles. En route I asked a man 
for the Pont de la Concorde, who answered, beating his breast 
simultaneously, "English, English." He turned out to be a master 
bricklayer from the Potteries, with his wife. We had a deal 
of talk. He expressed great astonishment at Paris, thought 
the French far ahead of us, and was especially struck with their 
behaviour last night. " Why, sir, if it had been in England, half 
of them would have been drunk, and they would certainly have 
smashed those lamps for mischiefs sake." He was a Churchman, 
and I directed him where to go on Sunday. He had met no 
1 Alices Adventures in Wonderland. 


English, and was very pleased to have an opportunity of venti- 
lating his mother tongue. ... I quite regret to leave Paris. . . . 
I shall try to get an introduction from my friend M. le Cure de 
S. Sulpice to some of the clergy on my line of march. 

I could go on prosing for ever on the wonderful lift that 
France has gained in all respects during the last twenty years ; 
but, like an honest man, I must add that the lady the concierge 
(English) at the H6tel Vouillemont, who is ' catholique,' declares 
that the English people are much better, and that the French 
are selfish and wicked. There is some comfort in that for a 
wounded spirit. ... I forgot to say that I went into N. D. 
des Champs, a very pretty wooden church capable of holding 
500 or 600 people a far better instrument than iron. 


SOISSONS, ix S. after Trinity, 9.30 P.M. [1867]. 
So here I am in this world-old city of Soissons, after a most 
interesting day, quietly sitting down to write you an account of 
my adventures. I thought this morning of Goldsmith's line, 

" Remote, unfriended, solitary, slow," 

and find myself neither one nor the other. But to continue my 
history since Friday evening. Saturday I invested in pen and 
ink, and have enjoyed peace ever since. Had a long talk with 
Madame la Concierge of the Vouillemont, who, though herself a 
'Catholic,' has no faith in the French, declares that they are 
wicked and selfish, and hate us although they make their fortune 
by us, as she tells Monsieur of the hotel whenever he makes his 
many unkind remarks, as he did only to-day when she went to 
post my letter to you. She is married to a Belgian, whose ways 
are English, else she would not have had him, and she goes to 
Bath, her native city, in January to place her daughter as a 
pupil in a convent there. Then I started for S. Sulpice to find 
M. le Cure", was hindered for a minute, and arrived just too late. 
' II est sorti il y a cinq minutes.' I was much aggravated, but I 
turned my misfortune to account by hunting up Hachette's Library 
and getting a guide-book for the part of France which I was about 
to visit, and looking at the H6tel Cluny, which is close at hand. 
. . . Soissons contains some 12,000 inhabitants, and is 
crammed with curiosities and relics, as you may easily imagine. 
One seems to breathe a Merovingian air. Chilperics and Clotaires, 



and Louis le Debonnaire, and folk of that sort, rise up round one. 
Well, after 'du cafe,' and after fulfilling my own duties and 
Services, I started for the Cathedral and High Mass at 9.30, 
soon stumbled on the sous-sacristain, inserted a franc into his 
willing paw, and asked him for a 'siege' whence I should not 
be 'derange,' and asked a few questions as to how to get a 
guide-book for Soissons. He put me in the part which surrounds 
the choir, and I saw and heard to advantage. When service was 
over at 11.30, a very pleasing young ecclesiastic accosted me, 
and requesting me to follow him 'chez lui,' offered not only to 
lend me books but himself to have the honour of showing me the 
lions of the place. It was exactly what I wanted. I carried home 
his books, got an hour's study of them, and from one till seven 
he acted as my guide. He was extremely intelligent, and besides 
giving me all information about Soissons, I learnt much from him 
about the state of ecclesiastical concerns. He lives in a pleasant 
little room, well filled with books and prints. His name and 
title is " 1'Abbe" Ply, Vicaire et Maltre de Chapelle de la Cath4- 
drale." We went first to the Abbey of S. Medard, formerly 
Benedictine, a regular S. Denis of the olden days. There are a 
good many remains chapel, crypt, etc. and it is now turned 
into a Hospital for Sourds-Muets et Aveugles, under the charge 
of Sisters 'de la Sagesse.' A very bright pretty young woman, 
the Superioress, showed us over the establishment, and I literally 
heard the deaf and dumb talk, and the blind read and play. I 
made my small offering, thankful for the chance, and then we 
marched off to S. Jean des Vignes, which must have been a 
magnificent church; now only the face remains, i.e. two huge 
towers and spires, with a triple doorway deeply recessed. We 
climbed up to the top and had a good view of the country. My 
friend told me that it is the current tale that Fenelon described 
the island of Calypso from this riant valley. It seems that he 
lived somewhere hard by while he wrote T6Umaque. Thence to 
the ' petit Seminaire,' where there is a very interesting Roman- 
esque church, and so up and down, seeing everything, and having 
much talk as we passed along. My friend spoke very differently 
from M. Hamon of S. Sulpice, whom he called ' un homme tres 
distingue.' He told me that the power of the bishops was 
' enorme,' also that the congregations of regulars did much harm. 
There is always an appeal to Rome from the bishops, but the 


Government always takes part with the bishops, declining to 
know anything about Rome, and the result is constant acts of 
tyranny and injustice. There was a good deal of truth, he 
said, though mingled with mischievous intention, in Le Maudit. 
Gallicanism is extinct. Two bishops were actually deposed for 
not accepting the new dogma. Also one of the professors in 
the seminary was expunged for holding Gallican views. The 
fact is that the bishops find that nothing but Ultramontanism 
will hold against the Erastianism of the day. At the present 
time there is not a potentate who favours the Church. He gave 
a sad picture of the religious condition of France. The lawyers 
are unbelievers (Voltairiens), the doctors materialists, the bour- 
geoisie careless, the majority never confessing from the day of 
their confirmation, except a mere show of it at marriage, seldom 
sufficient for absolution, till they die, when they make a per- 
functory confession in order to be respectably buried. If the 
clergy visit they are told, "We are delighted to see you as 
friends, but we do not want you as priests" etc. There is great 
difficulty in recruiting the priesthood. The mass are sons of 
artisans and labourers, the best are sons of farmers. In the 
seminary here are 70 or 80, not sufficient for the wants of the 
diocese, which contains 670 parishes. Things are better in the 
country, but the pay is very little, often only 900 francs per 
annum, scarcely enough to buy food and raiment. A man must 
be very gentle, complaisant, self-denying, and devoted. I longed 
to ask him whence he sprang. His tastes, talk, and intelligence 
and manners were thoroughly of the best. He was fond of 
heraldry, architecture had a keen eye for stained glass and 
good pictures. Finally he gave me a letter of introduction to 
M. 1'Abbe Parizet, Chanoine aumonier de l'H6pital general de 
Laon, and we separated, swearing eternal friendship. . . . 


E.HEIMS, H6TEL DU LlON D'OK, Aug. 20, 1867. 

... I want to give you my impressions of Laon before 
something else drives them out of my head. . . . You have 
no idea of the magnificence of Laon. There it stands in the 
midst of the sandy plain, something like Windsor Castle. It 
is a most picturesque walled town, and reminded me of 
Aubenas. Formerly it was 'la Laon Sainte,' from the heaps 


of churches and religious Orders which filled it. You will 
remember it as the battleground of Hugh Capet and the 
Charlemagne race, then the endless quarrels between the 
Communes, who seem to have had special privileges, and the 
bishops who also had special privileges, and wished to 'parson 
'em up too tight/ especially one Gaudry, whom the people 
finally murdered, etc., etc. . . . My friend M. 1'Abbe Ply at 
Soissons had given me an introduction to the Aumonier of 
the Hospital. I went to his abode, but he had gone to some 
sort of reunion in the country. I then resolved to betake 
myself and my letter to the Peres Je*suites who inhabit the 
ancient Abbaye de S. Vincent, a fine bold spur once strongly 
fortified, directly opposite Laon, and connected by a most 
exquisitely beautiful walk along the old fortifications. The 
heat was tremendous, and I could find no response to my 
knocks. At last I heard voices, and stumbled upon a whole 
regiment of 'freres convers' solacing themselves in a roughly 
built summer-house. I gave my card, and was ushered into 
the building. After a quarter of an hour, an intelligent and 
kindly man of about forty years old appeared, accosted me 
very pleasantly, and conducted me over the place. I was 
there for two hours and more. Of course we went at the old 
story. He showed me a rubbishy account of the conversion 
of a certain Mr. Pittar from the Church of England, written 
in very bad taste, and as weak as possible. If these good 
people knew how little impression that sort of thing produces 
on the mind of those who have fought the thing through, 
they would go to work in a different way. His great point 
was 'One Faith,' 'One Church,' 'One Pastor,' 'On this 
rock will I build My Church," etc. A Retreat was to begin 
that very day. About forty were expected of the neighbouring 
clergy, and my friend had the arranging of the beds, etc. It 
amused me much to see them troop in much as we do at 
Cuddesdon looking for their rooms. There was a salutation 
consisting of an approach of the two faces, first on one side, 
then on the other then followed the pointing out of the 
room, and a kindly "Vous voila, monsieur," as each was suited, 
or " Voulez-vous prendre quelque chose ?" " Voulez-vous diner 1 !" 
I asked if I might join myself to the Retreat for two or three 
days (it lasted a week). My friend in the kindest way 


promised to inquire of the Father who gave the Retreat, but 
evidently was doubtful as to the result; and finally, though 
he said they would gladly receive me for a 'Retraite par- 
ticuliere,' which of course was not what I wanted, it came out 
that the Cures and Vicaires present at the Retreat would 
have thought it not quite the thing to be associated with a 
'ministre protestant.' He wrote a very kind letter in my 
behalf to 1'Abbe Modeste at Rheims, whom I shall visit by- 
and-bye. . . . 



STRASBOURG, Aug. 27, 1867. 

... I have now got a regular line of work before me, from 
which I do not intend to swerve. Before I say more of this, 
I must tell you how much Rheims Cathedral satisfied me. 
There is really nothing like it, according to my idea. It rises 
in perfect proportion, like a growth from the earth. Every 
bit of it is thought out and carried out^-the west porches, 
the sides, the buttresses, east end, and general ornamentation. 
... I went up to the top with a very agreeable old gentleman, 
the concierge, whose son is a coiffeur in Edimbourg. He left 
France, said my friend, because he could not bear to work on 
Sundays. It is very delightful to me to get to the top of 
these places because the eye ranges over all those old historical 
battlegrounds, and you can picture to yourself a little of the 
past. Of course I had the good Joan of Arc before me. It 
seems to me that there are some pages of history for which 
one would freely give one's life to prevent their having existed. 
How those brutes of English could burn Joan of Arc, I cannot 
imagine, and when one says English, of course it was quite as 
much the French. . . . Well I must pass on. At 8 A.M. I 
had a 'rendezvous' with my friend, the Pere Modeste, who 
in the kindest way selected one of his party to take me over 
the ecclesiastical institutions of Rheims. The Pere who went 
with me was evidently a very clever man, a little perhaps over 
thirty. He could talk English, French, and German, and was 
full of feeling and humour. We went first to ' le Bon Pasteur ' 
whose mother-house is, as you remember, at Angers. There was 
some little ceremony but no real difficulty in obtaining per- 

1867 'LE BON PASTEUR' 203 

mission from ' le Vicaire Ge'ne'ral,' a very pleasing old gentleman, 
from whom I learnt a good deal as to their modus opera ml i. 
He said that at first they took every applicant, but the row 
of 1848 for the time broke up their house, and they began 
again on better principles, refusing the worst, and confining 
themselves to those who had not gone so far wrong. The bad 
ones, he said, were " diables incarne's " when they became 
furious, and did the others harm. Then we went to the house 
itself a good spacious building, with an excellent garden. 
The Mother-Superior, a lady of high family, was in bad health, 
but her deputy took us over the place, and every now and 
then a nun or two joined us, and chatted. The system seems 
much freer than ours. The rooms are filled with beds, and a 
couple of ' consacrees ' penitents who have given themselves to 
the house sleep with them, while a Sister has a room at the 
end. They are engaged much as ours are, in washing, sewing, 
cooking, etc. One was sullen, and wanted to go, and I was 
struck by the exact similarity of her looks and manner to ours 
under like circumstances looking on the ground, picking at 
her clothes, etc. Among the younger ones was a poor little 
thing of nine years old who had run away with a lad from 
her parents. The good Pere said a few words in each room, 
and then all, Sisters and penitents, knelt for his blessing. We 
saw another institution educational kept by the Freres 
Chretiens, and then I went home and had my dejeuner along 
with the Peres Jesuites. Of course all this was intermingled 
with hot and interminable discussions which amuse them, 
improve my French, and do no harm. I told them that ' 1'esprit 
anglais est tres inconsequent.' " Mais soyez consequent soyez 
consequent," shouted my good friends, and we all laughed 
heartily. . . . 

In the carriage was a chatty man, who told me that he 
was inspector of all the schools in that part of the country, 
Catholic, Protestant, etc., etc., an 'Israelite.' Pleasant would 
it not be to have our schools inspected by an Israelite? 
Unfortunately he got out at Bar-le-Duc, and I missed what I 
much desired, a conversation with one of the other side. . . . 
I went out to find the Strasbourg Peres Jesuites, and thence- 
only think of this I was actually taken to 'Monseigneur 
1'Eveque,' whom I had first seen figuring in one of the Emperor's 


carriages, and I was honoured by half an hour of 'causerie' 
with him. He is a regular 'jolly old brick,' as you will see 
when you have seen the photograph which I have purchased 
in honour of the visit. He was very affable was beginning 
his tour of Confirmations, thirty leagues off, to-morrow, else 
would have, etc. Gave me free permission to circulate through 
all the works of piety in the Diocese. Explained to me the 
condition of Alsace where are 1,000,000 of inhabitants of whom 
200,000 are Protestants told me how he chaffed the Protestant 
' Surintendant,' one Braun, on the subject of mixed marriages, 
and begged me to call again if ever I came to Strasbourg. 
'Voila!' . . .] 

But all the while he felt a power among these dis- 
appointed Fathers, to the attraction of which his 
conscience offered no opposition. He saw no reason 
why he should join them in making the Pope the 
centre of their system, but he felt that principles he 
had long accepted would justify him in seeking to 
imitate the devotion which made the Blessed Sacra- 
ment the centre of their life. On his return to 
England this thought, if I am not mistaken, was very 
prominent in his mind and conversation. He did 
not hesitate to regret the law of the English Church 
which made reservation impossible, except by what 
seemed to him to be a sophistical disobedience. It 
was however at this time that he taught the Sisters 
to value a pause of some minutes after the Consecra- 
tion and before Communion, -during which special 
adoration might be offered to our Lord, present in 
His glorified humanity under the Sacramental veils. 

It was his convictions on such points as these, 
which, in his case, as in that of Dr. Liddon, did not 
allow of a perfect sympathy and co-operation with 


the great Bishop of Oxford. No doubt in both cases 
they also retarded the promotion which would else 
have been so natural at a much earlier time than that 
at which, to some degree, it came. 

I cannot leave the mention of Oxford without 
giving myself the pleasure of noting that in later 
years Butler's habitual host in the University was 
the one man who so eminently carried on the tradi- 
tions of refinement and uncompromising faith, which 
marked the early Tractarians, George Noel Freeling. 
I am not sure whether the Dean ever stayed in 
Oxford after his beautiful presence had been with- 
drawn ; l they were not very long parted, and their 
rest is one. 

But, if William Butler's thoroughness kept him in 
the ranks of the unpopular, it must be plainly stated 
that this does not mean that he threw in his lot with 
the Ritualists. On the contrary, as soon as they 
became a well-defined party, he stood aloof from 
them. His action in this respect turns principally on, 
or may be illustrated by, his relations to Alexander 
Mackonochie. The future Vicar of St. Alban's, Hoi- 
born, came, I think as his second curacy, to Wantage, 
and remained there until he was chosen by Mr. 
Hubbard to lead the mission of which he was about to 
provide the external apparatus, into the slums of 
Holborn. The Vicar used to say that if Mackonochie 
had gone straight to St. Alban's from Wantage, 
instead of spending an interval at St. George's 
Mission where the pea-shooters and profanity of the 

1 He was Canon Bright's guest at Christ Church in Oct., 1892. 


Protestant mob tended to drive him into whatever 
was most opposed to them the result would have 
been other than it has been. During the early years 
of St. Alban's the Vicar of Wantage preached there 
from time to time. On one occasion bouquets were 
provided not only for the choir-boys, but for the 
clergy, possibly as a step to the wreaths of roses with 
which the Canons of St. Paul's were anciently decked 
on Corpus Christi Day. The Vicar related to us 
when he came back to Wantage how he had furtively 
laid down his nosegay on a seat during the procession, 
and how it had been gravely restored to him by the 
Ceremoniarius. ' Tan turn religio potuit.' Before long 
the developments at St. Alban's went beyond the 
lines which Butler could conscientiously accept, but 
his friendship for Mackonochie was never shaken. 
He regretted the introduction of the mid-day Choral 
Eucharist. To him, as to Mr. Bennett of Frome, it 
seemed fitting that the Divine Mysteries should not 
be exposed to the possible irreverence and almost 
certain unpreparedness of an eleven o'clock con- 
gregation. At Wantage, as at Frome, the Choral 
Celebration was early, and that which followed 
matins was plain Celebration, intended for aged and 
infirm communicants. It may be questioned whether 
the missionary power of the mid-day High Service, 
the experience of which is perhaps the best argument 
in its favour, ever came under the notice of the 
Vicar. Certainly there were other matters con- 
nected with the ritualistic development which would 
have made him disinclined to look favourably upon 


it, though as to the privilege and benefit of assistance 
at the altar when not actually receiving, he had 
no doubt whatever. 1 

It was, I think, in the summer of 1870 that the 
Vicar spent Trinity Sunday in London, and went 
with a friend, for whose opinion he had a great 
respect, and who was strongly opposed to the new 
departure, to see some ritualistic churches. I think 
they chose St. Michael's, Shoreditch, in the morn- 
ing ; certainly they went in the evening to St. 
Paul's, Lorrimore Square. Here notice was given 
of the observance of the Feast of Corpus Christi 
on the following Thursday, and the preacher ex- 
plained that, although it was not a feast marked 
in the Prayer Book, the origin of festivals had 
been their spontaneous local observance, and it was 
fitting that the desire for a festival of the Holy 
Sacrament should give rise to a development of this 
kind from local centres. I have been accustomed 
to connect the Vicar's dislike of Eitualism with that 

It would have been difficult for him, in the 
midst of his unceasing work, to have entered upon 
a thorough study of ritual, and impossible for him 
to have taken the matter up without thoroughly 
studying it. Now and then the fitness of some 

1 He wrote in the "Parish Journal," on April 2nd, 1869 : "I should, 
indeed, be grieved if 'non-communicating attendance' were to be 
substituted for regular and frequent participation of the Bread from 
heaven. We should gain little if the sacrifice were offered, and 
the partaking of the sacrifice ignored or set aside." But see 
Appendix II. 


isolated point of ritual, from its connexion with doc- 
trine, struck his imagination and his devotion. I 
remember, for instance, that when during his illness 
after an accident in 1872 I had the privilege of giving 
him Holy Communion, he received vested in a stole, 
having learned, as he said, that every Communion 
of a priest had something of a sacrificial character. 
But, on the whole, he did not take to the ritual 
movement. I think he never felt as much at home 
in a chasuble as in a surplice and stole, and the 
elaboration of details of ritual was thoroughly dis- 
tasteful to him. 

On one point connected with this matter I feel 
at a loss to describe his position : indeed, I am 
inclined to think that he never quite defined it 
himself ; I mean I do not know what to say as to 
his sympathies during the ritual prosecutions. It 
is quite certain that he looked upon that interpre- 
tation of the royal supremacy which justifies the 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Sovereign exercised 
through the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, 
as impossible, and irreconcileable with a belief in the 
spiritual authority of the Church. He had known 
long before I knew him the strain of the Gorham 
decision, which cost him the loss of H. E. Manning, 
and with him of Miss Lockhart, who was first Mother 
Superior of the Home. His reason for not following 
them did not lie in any acquiescence in the decision 
of the Privy Council, but in his heartfelt repudiation 
of the moral authority of that decision. He delighted 
to quote Mr. Keble's strong statement, that if the 


Church of England did not destroy the Privy Council 
the Privy Council would destroy it ; he did not 
hesitate to describe the Church of England as a 
bleeding heart from which the life was flowing through 
the wounds inflicted by the Erastian action of the 

So far as the Church has now been relieved in 
any degree of the evils arising from the Privy 
Council's jurisdiction, it has been in consequence 
of the resistance to the ritual judgements, and their 
final discrediting in the case of the Bishop of Lincoln. 
It is, however, the fact that, during the anxieties of 
the Purchas and Bidsdale cases, the Vicar of Wantage 
was far less keen as to these particular instances than 
he had been on the general principle brought into 
prominence by the Gorham judgement, and later by 
the prosecution of Mr. Bennett. What I believe he 
felt was that while the claim of spiritual jurisdiction 
by the Crown was as disastrous as he had always 
maintained it to be, dignity and the proportion of 
truth suffered through the emphasis laid on points of 
ceremonial. It was no point of conscience with him 
to resist these decisions, though it was not a point 
of conscience to accept them. At some moments I 
think it must be allowed that he tended to the 
opinion that on matters not essential, even though 
belonging to the spiritual domain, the decision of the 
State should be treated with respect. 

[His views on the relations of Church and State, 
especially as bearing on the subject of Ritualism, 
were expressed at various times to Canon Liddon and 


others, and near the end of his life, to the Very Rev. 
Randall T. Davidson, Dean of Windsor, now Bishop 
of Winchester. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Dec. 5, 1870. 

While candidates for Confirmation are coming and going, I 
must try to sandwich in a few lines suggested by your letter 
of this morning. I quite agree with you that the judgement 
on A. H. M., viewed from a legal point, is harsh and unfair. 
And you know how for years the Court of Final Appeal has 
been in my opinion the great o-Kai/SaAov in the way of the 
Church I may say even also of the State for what can be 
more [illegible] than for the State to incite her people to accept 
and believe in a man-made religion and to this practically the 
decisions come. But my quarrel, so to call it, with our dear 
old friend, is quite apart from the P. C. I complain (and I 

think that people like Lord , a type of a class not the worst, 

complain also with justice) that he is trying to force into 
the use of the Church of England that which the Church in 
no way authorises, that he is making his own private fancy 
the rule of public ministrations. In other words, he is acting 
in the very most Protestant fashion. Of course he would say 
that he went by the rule of the Catholic Church, etc., but 
unless he is prepared to assert that Rome, and nothing but 
Rome, teaches that rule, I cannot see where he finds it. I 
maintain that no work can stand which abjures obedience. If 
I cannot obey where I am, I should think it my duty to go 
where I could obey. Individuals are far too weak and ignorant to 
be permitted to take lines of their own, except within certain 
specified limits. And it seems to me that this determination 
to make out a new religion which this really is e.g. the en- 
forcement of fasting Communion, the making confession a 
matter of salvation, or at least a duty for every soul besides 
a heap of ritualistic practices, some of the queerest kind, 
which he introduces into the services, must naturally kindle a 
correlative antagonism which will not stop till it has caused 
great damage far and wide. And I own that I find myself in 
a trying dilemma. 


I sympathise with all my heart in the demonstration of 
Catholic and Sacramental teaching which A. H. M.'s line, as I 
think, only simulates. I cannot express my opinion without the 
certainty of being misunderstood, yet I feel it untrue to throw 
myself heartily into the ranks of the defenders, as I gladly 
would have done if only I could believe his method to be loyal 
and true. I am writing, as you will perceive, somewhat 
hurriedly and dishevelledly please remember in strict privacy 
to you. 

W. J. B. TO 

March 7, 1871. 

I have thought very carefully, and I trust without any sort of 
personal feeling, on the serious issue which lies before us. I 
come to the conclusion that I have only two alternatives between 
which to choose. I must either be ready to resign my work, 
or ready, if compelled, to obey. It seems to me almost im- 
moral to chance what may come to say if we hold together 
' they ' will never venture to attack so large a party, and the 
like and to comfort oneself with this. It is at least possible 
that ' they ' may do so ; and I am bound to express to those who 
ask me, and to settle moreover for myself, what I should do 
if I am attacked. This is why I state distinctly now, before 
the crisis arises, that I should not consider myself as acting 
rightly in the sight of God if I were deliberately to say, "I 
shall stand firm," supposing that by firmness is meant the giving 
up of that to which I believe God has sent me, rather than that 
I should consent to celebrate at the N. end of the altar. I 
ask myself which will most damage the work of God the 
separating myself from those precious souls among whom I 
have ministered for so many years, and leaving them to the 
sort of teaching which in all probability, under the circum- 
stances of the case, would follow mine or the yielding to what 
in fact, when you come to analyse it, is brute force, in a matter 
which only indirectly affects the truth I say the former. If 
the doctrine were directly impugned, the case would be very 
different. But I can teach it, even though at some disadvantage, 
in many other ways, even supposing my position at the altar to 
be interfered with. Of course if I were bidden not to teach it 
at all, I could have but one answer to give and to teach it 
all the more. 


I am very sorry to differ from you and others as to the 
wisest and best course. But I cannot set aside what my con- 
science dictates; and you will, I know, give me credit for 
dulness and ignorance if you will, but at least for honesty of 
purpose. For the present I shall certainly go on as I have gone 
on for the last twenty-four years, and the arrangement of the 
Church is such that it is very unlikely that any one would be 
idiotic enough to wish me to celebrate at the N. end, where 
I could not possibly be seen. But I do not choose to shelter 
myself under this, and therefore I speak my mind. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, March 19, 1877. 

I do not feel that my opinion is worth anything, but as 
you wish for it, I will try to state shortly what occurs to me. 
Certainly in olden days those who professed High Church 
principles paid great deference to bishops. Witness the giving 
up of the ' British Critic ' so very able and useful as it was 
at the desire of Bishop Bagot ; and I remember well how, at 
the Consecration of Hursley Church (1848), Mr. Keble made 
all kinds of arrangements which were distasteful to himself, 
to meet the wishes of Bishop Sumner. 

It is quite true that the bishops have for the most part 
acted, as we think, in a cowardly and one-sided manner; but 
I do not agree that even this exonerates us from certain duties 
which we owe to them. Is there not a certain Sacramental 
strength given to order, which may be called the promise of 
the Fifth Commandment? 

I am greatly in favour of Liddon's suggestion not his how- 
ever only of endeavouring to get at least points of doctrine 
ruled by the collective Episcopate. I believe that they would 
be 'guided into truth.' In regard to individual bishops, for 
my own part I have always accepted the directions of our 
bishops. Certainly it may be said that men like Bishops 
Wilberforce and Mackarness are exceptions. But I am quite 
sure that if any bishop, in whose Diocese I was, had bidden 
me take down the pictures of the Stations from the walls of 
my church, I should have obeyed him without demur, and I 
should have believed that in doing so somehow or other 


the work would have been more prospered than if I had 
retained them against his will. I cannot help thinking that 
if some of our friends had yielded in such matters as this, 
the graver questions of the position of the celebrant, etc., 
would never have been raised. The P.W.R. Act no doubt 
puts the bishop in a false position. It makes him the in- 
strument of an Act of Parliament officer, instead of a father 
in the Church. But it seems to me that that is his affair. 
We have nothing to do with the action of the State law, 
but with the bishop. In his inner consciousness he may be 
Lord Penzance's servant, but outwardly he speaks to us as 
a bishop. 

I do not wish to speak positively, or to tie myself down 
to an opinion, but I incline to think that I should obey the 
bishop in all but questions of doctrine. There my own con- 
science must be master. 


THE DEANERY, LINCOLN, April 3, 1889. 

I have read your letter to the Times, and I heartily recognise 
the fair and kindly spirit in which it is written. It seems 
however strange to me that a man so clear-sighted as you 
are should not perceive that in the sort of challenge which 
you throw out to the High Church leaders to formulate their 
conception of a satisfactory final court, you effectually cut the 
ground from under their feet by requiring that the proposed 
court shall be such as will satisfy and pass through Parliament. 
It is, I fear, quite beyond all hope that Parliament will ever 
consent to the kind of court which could possibly content 
those who look upon the Church as a divine institution. 
Abstractedly there is no reason why in England as well as 
in Scotland an Established Church should not manage its own 
concerns. But in England the State has got the Church in a 
vice, and will not release it, except by the action of dis- 
establishment. All the influences of the country would oppose 
any step towards rendering real liberty to the Church; not 
least of all a very large proportion of her own laity and 
clergy. The High Church party is in a most pitiful minority, 


and always must be so. Its teaching goes directly against the 
idea which the great majority of people form respecting religion. 
It is, in a word, sacerdotalism, the one thing that they hate,, 
because it opposes itself to human pride and human sensuality. 
It is useless to assert as may be asserted truly that the 
Prayer Book and Catechism are on our side. Plymouth 
Brethrenisni is practically the religion of the land, of all except 
the Roman Catholics, not of course actually professed, but the 
fair logical outcome of the principles which men hold. As 
things are, the Prayer Book and Catechism give to such as 
myself a fair chance of holding one's own, and personally I 
should be quite content to avoid all litigious matters, except 
perhaps what is called the Eastward position, and work on, 
as I have worked for many years, teaching through them that 
which I believe to be true. I wish with all my heart that 
others had done or would do the same. I believe that these 
great results would have followed. We could have done the 
work, so far as it is possible to do it, and kept the persecutors 
at bay. But the party called Ritualist would not be patient, 
in fact in many cases have no real love for the Church, rather 
like chaos and anarchy, always crave for KCUVOTC/DOV TI, and 
have dragged us into the mess. It is they who have brought 
into discussion this question of the court, and forced the 
Church to face it. I remember too well the Gorham decision 
of 1850. It was very startling. But while it upheld in his 
preferment a man of unsound doctrine, it did not go so far 
as 'quemlibet occidere populariter' to give wrong judgement 
against any one in order to please the people. It certainly 
watered down the plain teaching of the Baptismal office, but 
it did not punish clergy for following the direct orders of 
the Rubrics and the previous decisions of the Council itself. 
It is this burning sense of injustice which has stirred up many 
hearts, and I see no way out of the difficulty so long as this 
court continues to give such judgements. 

I dread Disestablishment with all my heart, because I know 
pretty well what the result of it would be. It would throw all 
power into the hands of a laity who, although no such ignor- 
amuses or such tyrants as the Irish laity, would nevertheless 
very materially narrow the liberty which is now enjoyed or 
maintained. The Ritualist party would at once find their 


position intolerable, and so would many who are not Ritualists 
but are High Churchmen ; and as a choice between two evils, the 
supremacy of ignorant Protestant laity and that of the Pope, 
many would prefer Rome. People had better realise the fact, 
viz. that Rome would be the real gainer. The Church of 
England, so far as one can judge, would sink to the level where 
it stands in the Colonies, i.e. a secondrate or thirdrate sect. Her 
ministers badly paid and hardly dealt with would no longer 
count as gentlemen, enthusiasm would die out, and although it 
might drag on a somewhat unhonoured existence, it would no 
longer be the Church of the people. 

The best solution of the difficulty, so far as I can see, is 
that such a judgement may be given as shall quell these efforts 
of the Church Association to bully and destroy that with which 
they disagree. I believe that if these attacks were once for all 
firmly checked the present stress and tension would be relieved. 
I am confident that the clergy who would grievously transgress 
would be so few as to be outside of consideration. The vast 
majority would be content to be guided by the Prayer Book, 
their conscience, and the wish of their congregations. 

The Church Association folk are not candid. They pretend 
zeal for the Prayer Book now, because it suits their turn. 
Formerly they mobbed Mr. Courtenay of Exeter to death, and 
drove Mr. Bennett from Knightsbridge, because they obeyed the 
Rubrics and the Bishops of London and Exeter who wished 
to maintain the Rubrics. What these men really want is to 
stamp out what they call Sacerdotalism, which has as fair a claim 
as their own to find a place among us. Keep these men from 
mischief, and all will, I believe, be well; bating of course the 
differences and anomalies which cannot fail to arise where some 
15,000 men are concerned. 

I have written nearly as long a letter as your own. I trust 
that as I felt constrained to read yours, you will not call me by 
evil names for asking you to read my reply. 


Private. 4th April, 1889, DEANERY, WINDSOR CASTLE. 

I am grateful to you for your most interesting and important 
letter. I only wish you would say publicly, either in a letter to 


the Times or otherwise, what you have said privately. I cannot 
see that the position you take up corresponds in the least to the 
position of those whom I have tried to get an answer from. You 
feel, as indeed I do myself, that the present final court is unsatis- 
factory. Our difference as to its unsatisfactoriness would be a 
matter of degree. But, unless I misunderstand you, you are so 
far prepared to make the best of a difficult position that you do 
not desire in the meantime to fly in the face of the existing 
authority, such as it is, and to flout it and jeer at it before the 
eyes of the public. You feel as I do, that it is possible to teach 
all true doctrine about the Church's rights and authority without 
defying unnecessarily the powers that be. My ' challenge,' since 
you call it so, though I did not use the word, was certainly not 
directed to any one who holds that position. If I seemed to 
include all such, I must have expressed myself awkwardly. I 
believe incalculable good might come from such an one as your- 
self speaking out about the impracticableness of the extreme 
men; but it would be an unpopular thing to do, and it is 
perhaps not fair to ask you for such an utterance, not that you 
would mind the unpopularity, but it might lessen your good 
influence with some of your friends. 

I am, as you may imagine, half buried in the letters I have 
received upon the subject. I wish most of my correspondents 
expressed their meaning as clearly as you do.] 

These disconnected remarks have started from the 
time when I came to Wantage before my Ordina- 
tion, and record impressions which, though matured 
later, have their roots in that time. I ought to 
ask myself what can be contributed from my 
memories of my two years service at Wantage, 
from Advent 1869 to the beginning of 1872? 

The Vicar's invitation came with most welcome 
kindness, when I had disappointed his hopes for me 
of a good class in the final schools. He knew well 
that I had not worked as I ought, and no one 
appreciated better the value of a good degree. I 


had dreaded his displeasure, and his generous offer 
of work at Wantage, without a word of blame, was 
one of the most comforting things I have ever 
experienced. So I went to Cuddesdon already 
accepted for Wantage, and had the good fortune 
while there to have some hand in persuading 
Herbert Woodward 1 to give up the idea of another 
curacy he was thinking of, and to look forward to 
joining the Wantage staff. For my share in this 
at any rate, the Vicar would not have repented of 
his kindness. 

As to my own relations with the Vicar, I think I 
can sum up my experiences in the two words, strictness 
and confidence. It was a strict standard of life that he 
set before us ; he expected it to be strictly observed ; 
w r here he felt that it helped us, he even required 
a somewhat strict account. But along with this, 
he trusted us in a way that could not but win 
trust in return. We were left free to conduct our 
school classes, to preach our sermons, even to arrange 
(in my case) for Charlton Confirmation classes as 
we thought best. This combination of strictness 
and confidence had the effect of making us feel that, 
while we were still very young, and needing a hand 
over us, we had received an office which he respected, 
and to which he gave its due. As soon as we were 
ordained priests, he was careful to give us our turns 
in celebrating, reserving however the right to take 
the place of the celebrant if he was at all late. He 
took me himself to many of the houses in Grove 

1 Now Precentor of Worcester Cathedral. 


Street which were to be in my district, and pointed 
out I think, one or two which I was to make a 
new start with, as they were more or less offended 
with him. 

In Lent the Vicar came down and started some 
mission services in the Grove Street chapel. His 
sermon remains in my mind more distinctly than 
any other I ever heard him preach. (I was seldom 
in the parish church on Sundays.) It was very 
characteristic; a powerful translation into easy form 
of the beginning of the Ignatian exercises, on the 
purpose of God for each man's life. " You could 
not be in a better place for your salvation than 
you find yourself in, by God's appointment." 

We met every day in the Vicar's study at one 
o'clock, and sometimes waited for him, as his work 
at the Home was growing, and kept him longer 
than he wished. He would rush in, talk to us 
while he washed his hands, arrange a number of 
details, lay his finger on some of our weak points, 
make a joke or two, tell us news (which he always 
seemed to find time to get at), and finally, as I 
have already said, pass with unfeigned reverence, 
but unabated energy, into the Oratory for Sext. 
After dinner there was another conference and 
Nones. In 1870 the Franco-German War was 
going on, and the Vicar always had the morning's 
facts ready to talk about at dinner. Like every 
great human interest the shock of the two nations 
moved him deeply, and he delighted later to spend 
what time he could give in the service of the 


Hospital Corps in Germany. His days were always 
full, but he would find time to entertain a guest, 
his own, or ours ; a lad from Oxford, or a priest, 
or any one who turned up. Now and then there 
were special people, whom it was a great memory 
to have seen, Archdeacon Freeman, Miss Yonge ; 
above all, Bishop Forbes. 1 

Comparing the Vicar's work with that of other 
men in similar positions, I have been struck by 
the freedom of his life from those half-secular 
employments which so often intrude upon time due 
to the highest ends. 2 He never seemed oppressed 
by business ; now and then there would be a meet- 
ing of the Governors of the Wantage Charities ; 
I think once a year they came to dinner : an 
occasional morning would be given to a sanitary 
committee. But such things were never to the 
front, though evidently they were not neglected. 
Excellent business habits made their execution 
light ; very much was done quietly and effectively 
by Mrs. Butler. It seemed always possible for the 
head of the parish to seek first the kingdom of God. 

He was far too much in earnest to be distracted. 
When his going to Maritzburg as Bishop was not 
improbable, he thought out all that would have 
to be done ; Sister Eliza, the successful and devoted 
mistress of the Middle school, was ready to go 
with him ; he had thought of plans for raising 

1 The Eight Reverend A. P. Forbes, Bishop of Brechin. 

2 He always declined to become a magistrate, saying that 
" preachee preachee," and " floggee floggee," were incompatible 


necessary funds ; but all was to go on at Wantage 
as if he were not going to the last half-hour. 

After I left Wantage, I had the privilege of 
often seeing the Vicar there, and afterwards at 
Worcester, and once, I think, at Lincoln. But I can 
hardly add anything of special interest as to this 
time. It only remains to note some miscellaneous 
facts or thoughts which recur. 

He was a severe critic of methods which seemed 
to be fussy or unduly valued, apart from the spirit 
which should inspire them. " I shall not believe 
in Retreats till the clergy leave off smoking, nor 
in missions till all the Penitentiaries are filled," 
was a characteristic saying. 

It seemed to me very characteristic of him that 
he conceived a great love for the manly simple char- 
acter of General Gordon. There were certain per- 
sons in the parish at Wantage to whom he was very 
closely drawn, such as William Dixon, the good old 
farmer, who trusted him at first and supported him 
through opposition 1 (he was dead before I knew 
Wantage) ; Sister Eliza, certain Sisters and teachers 
still living, and amongst his curates, William New- 
bolt, Montague Noel, and Henry Houblon, his suc- 
cessor at Wantage. Outside the parish he had an 
unbounded delight in the work of James and Tom 
Pollock at Birmingham, in Reginald Porter's dutiful 
and deep work at Kenn, more than all in the suc- 
cessive works by which his great friend Albert Barff 

J He opposed him however at first in the matter of the Church 



has served the Church. For him at North Moreton the 
Vicar of Wantage preached a Mission, the only one 
he ever took, 1 and up to the last he stood in the 
closest relation to this dear and trusted friend. 

My last interview with him, and my last letter, 
remain in my mind. I met him at the Wantage 
Road station in the Lent of 1893, and he drove me 
up to the Home in his fly. His ceaseless talk never 
flagged the whole time : amongst other things he 
spoke with great satisfaction of his grand-daughter's 
coming marriage. Miss - kindly asked me to 

come to the 1 ? Mead 2 later, and the Dean was quite 
himself, as I had known him for about thirty years, 
eager, combative, generous, full of sympathy, know- 
ledge, criticism, bent always and above all upon the 
only aim of his strenuous life, his untiring duty, 
his deep undemonstrative love bent upon the 
single-hearted service of God. 

In the following summer it occurred to my mind 
during a Retreat for the Sisters that, as the number of 
those who are departed increases, it would be well to 
commemorate them at one Eucharist during the 
Retreat. I wrote therefore to the Dean, and asked if 
he approved of our using a special office, that for 
Easter Eve. He wrote back very warmly, thanking 
me for consulting him, agreeing with the appropriate 
opportunity for such a commemoration, saying that 
he had intended to have provided for the inscription 
of the names of the departed on diptychs. 

1 He preached at St. Paul's during the London Mission in Feb., 1874. 

2 The house at which he was staying. 


Thus my last communication with him referred 
to that interchange of good offices between the living 
and departed, which satisfies one of our holiest in- 
stincts. Some day, perhaps, it may be permitted me 
to celebrate the Holy Eucharist at the altar which 
is his fitting memorial (I can well remember how 
he devised its erection about the time when I was 
his curate) at Wantage. 1 If I am so privileged, I 
know that along with the sacred words, once so 
familiar in the dignified utterance of his sonorous 
voice, there will come to my mind the text which 
I have long associated with him, " I have set my 
face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be 

1 Extract from " Parish Journal," June 7, 1871 : " We have said 
matins in the S. Aisle, partly to avoid the dust and dirt, partly to try 
the effect of a service said there. It will not, I think, do for matins, 
still less for evensong, but it is quite desirable at some future time to 
have the week-day Celebrations there. The only question is how far 
we can safely venture on erecting another altar. It is a matter 
requiring very serious consideration, and earnest prayers for guidance. 
Altars are too solemn to be stuck up here and there like tables, 
according to the fancy of this or that person." This South Chancel Aisle 
now forms the Memorial Chapel, restored and fitted up for Divine 
Service in memory of his life and work at Wantage. 



THE year 1865 marked the beginning of a crisis 
in William Butler's life. For the first time since 
he had entered upon his work at Wantage he was 
within measurable distance of leaving it. 

The troubles that arose in the matter of Bishop 
Colenso are told at length in the Life of Bishop 
Gray, of Capetown. Here it will be sufficient to 
say that on account of writings which the Bishop 
of Natal published throwing doubts on the authen- 
ticity of parts of the Pentateuch, and also, later on, 
impugning the Divinity of our Lord, Bishop Gray, 
as Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of 
South Africa, took steps to depose Bishop Colenso 
from his See, with the concurrence of the other 
Bishops of the Province. The next point was to find 
a successor, and William Butler's name was brought 
forward on the strength of a letter from Dr. Pusey 
to the Bishop of Capetown, in which he stated that 
"Butler of Wantage" was ready and willing to step 
at once into the breach. This statement was founded 
on a conversation with Mr. Liddon, in which he 
had repeated some general expressions used by the 


Vicar ; but, as Mr. Liddon wrote subsequently, " not 
making anything approaching to a formal offer to 
go to Natal . . . and I repeated your words to Dr. 
Pusey in the way of conversation, and, if my memory 
does not deceive me, in order to meet some expres- 
sion of sorrow which fell from him as to the lack of 
devotion among the English clergy." But, as it will 
subsequently be shown, not only had he no intention 
of putting himself forward for the anxious post of 
Bishop of Natal, but after his nomination he never 
swerved from the three conditions he laid down, 
namely, (1) That his election should be proved to 
be valid ; (2) that he should be sent by his own 
Metropolitan and Diocesan, as representing the 
Mother Church ; and (3) that a sufficient income 
should be guaranteed to enable him to leave his 
wife and family at home for a time, and to carry 
on the work at Wantage till he should resign the 
living, as well as to meet the wants of the Diocese, 
which was deprived of its endowments and churches 
by the decision of the secular courts, which did not 
recognise Bishop Gray's acts as legal. 

His sympathies were altogether with Bishop Gray, 
as his letters show. 


WANTAGE VICAKAGE, April 8, 1865. 

. . . Touching Bishop Gray, it seems to me that the for- 
mal excommunication of Colenso, however in itself proper and 
desirable, might lead to very serious complications. E.g. How 
would; it affect clergy who without acknowledging him as their 
Bishop, admitted him to Communion ? I suppose, at least in 


England, there would be a difficulty in refusing him at all 
events many estimable people would feel it to be so. Unless the 
excommunication were taken up and endorsed by the bishops of 
the Church in England, it would put Bishop Gray in a position 
of isolation. Would it not be better to stick to the Act of 
Deposition gather the bishops of the African Church make 
arrangements for Natal and call upon the English bishops to 
declare themselves in the matter 1 

Almost on the same date Bishop Gray wrote to 
William Butler expressing his thankfulness that he 
should be willing to come out as chief pastor to the 
afflicted flock in Natal. But at that time he did 
not entertain the idea, and another clergyman, the 
Rev. F. H. Cox, then at Hobart Town in Tasmania, 
was recommended by the Archbishop of Canterbury 
for election. He accepted the nomination, but sub- 
sequently withdrew, and on October 25th, 1866, the 
Vicar of Wantage was elected Bishop by the Diocese 
of Natal, but with seven dissentient clergy. Thus 
the crisis began. A trying time followed. One of 
the chief obstacles that lay between him and his 
acceptance of the See was the question whether his 
election was canonical. He also firmly held to his 
original stipulation that an income of 600 a year 
should be secured to the See. 

Feeling doubts as to the validity of the election, 
he put the decision into the hands of his Diocesan, 
Bishop Wilberforce, and the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, Dr. Longley. They wrote on January 12, 
1867: "We advise you to suspend your decision 
until these important questions concerning your 
election shall have been completely answered." The 


Bishop of Oxford was all along in favour of his 
acceptance. After the decision had been made he 
wrote to Bishop Gray, " No doubt, so far as we 
can see, if our dear Archbishop had seen his way 
to stand firm, Butler would wonderfully have re- 
stored all things." 

On receipt of the news of his election, Butler 
wrote to the Bishop of Capetown : 

WANTAGE VICARAGE, Dec. 28, 1866. 

MY DEAR LORD, I received your letter with a mass of others 
from Natal upon Christmas Eve, just when all our preparations 
for Christmas were completed. You may easily imagine the 
anxious consideration which I have tried to give to a subject 
so all-important. My ties to England are strong and numerous. 
Yet I dread from my inmost soul the responsibility of withdraw- 
ing myself from what may be a call from God, however stern 
the sacrifice it may demand. I have therefore resolved to leave 
myself unreservedly in the hands of the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury and the Bishop of Oxford, my natural ecclesiastical superiors, 
feeling sure that you and the Natal clergy will be satisfied with 
this decision, and also believing that I shall in this way most 
legitimately find out the Will of God for myself. If they say 
'go,' I shall feel myself bound utterly unequal as I am to 
accept such a post, pressing and imperative as are my home 
duties to go. For the present I will add no more. The 
Bishop of Oxford is now at Addington with the Archbishop, 
and I have little doubt that by the next mail they will have 
settled the question. Meanwhile I am always with deep respect 
and sympathy, yours most faithfully. 

On learning the Archbishop's and Bishop's opinion, 
he wrote to the Dean of Pietermaritzburg : 

WANTAGE VICARAGE, January 24, 1867. 

I enclose a copy of the joint opinions of the Archbishop of 
Canterbury and the Bishop of Oxford. This opinion has been 
drawn up with very great care, and the advice of several, both 


lay and clerical, of the best and most influential Churchmen has, 
I know, aided them in their conclusion. It leaves the case in 
a condition not, I hope, altogether unsatisfactory to you and 
the other brave and good men who have so long borne the 
brunt of the conflict. It seems to be agreed that the condition 
of the Church in Natal is such that you are perfectly justified 
in electing a Bishop. But at the same time the soundest men 
here are of opinion that the late election requires rectifying or 
revising. Among others, the Bishop of Grahamstown doubts its 
validity. . . . As far as I am concerned, I am simply passive. 
I dare not act for myself. The balance of duties seems too even. 
You could not have called any one with more ties to his native 
land, engagements of every kind domestic, parochial, public. 
I have children growing up, boys just budding into manhood, 
daughters educating, a father-in-law and a mother, both of 
course aged, yet both strong and well, and keenly alive to the 
pain of such a separation. A flourishing body of Sisters estab- 
lished here and elsewhere, looking to me as their founder and 
guide. Then schools and parochial institutions of every kind 
rest on me. All this, I feel, involves me in much entanglement. 
Yet after much deliberation I have resolved that if the way is 
clear I must make a sacrifice which will cost so much pain not 
to myself only but to so many others ; and weak and unfit as I 
am for such a post, I must place myself at your service. 

Pray however do not consider yourself pledged to me by your 
late vote, but if you can find anyone who seems to you better 
suited for your wants, or whose name would create more unani- 
mity of feeling among the clergy, do not hesitate to set me aside. 

His most confidential correspondent during the 
trying time that followed his election was his 
friend H. P. Liddon. 



I have received from the Archbishop and Bishop, together 

with two private letters the enclosed 1 which I send to you in 

confidence, for I do not as yet know what use I am permitted to 

make of it. It seems to me very full and helpful. I am going 

1 See Life of Robert Gray, D.D., vol. ii., p. 299 (1876). 


to Cuddesdon on Saturday, and I suppose that after a talk with 
the Bishop, I shall know more exactly what to say and what to 
do. I hope that you will think that I have done rightly in this 
very difficult case, and I should like also to think that Dr. Pusey 
was satisfied that I am not a ' malingerer.' I had, I think I may 
honestly say, quite made up my own mind on the subject. I 
mean that I was and am ready to do whatever it seems right that 
I should call my duty, and I had gone so far as to arrange my 
plans in case the opinion went in favour of my starting at once. 
I really know not what I could have done more, but of course 
there is in everything so much room for self-deceit that I almost 
fear that I have said too much. 

I have spent nearly a fortnight in great rest under my 
mother's roof, and hope to return to Wantage on Monday. I 
went on Sunday to St. Mary Magdalene's, and heard a most 
wonderful sermon from Stuart. I should like to tell you of it at 
length, but I must repeat one passage. 

" The Wise Men were wise, my brethren, because they per- 
ceived the meaning of the star. They were wise because, etc., 
etc., etc., and they were wise because they offered incense to 
Christ. The new wise men (we think them very foolish men) 
say that we must not offer incense to Christ, but we don't intend 
to mind them, my brethren," and so on, all said with the 
quaintest accent and manner. I had a chat with A. H. M. on 
Tuesday. He "looks, I think, worn, but is, as ever, very cheery 
and genial. How very good is his exposition of Faith. It is 
worthy of some old Eastern bishop. . . . Philip Freeman 1 
is very desirous to publish an annotated copy [of the Christian 
Year] with parallel passages. He would, I think, undertake the 
classical parallels, for which no man is better fitted. He also 
wishes to give the ' motif,' so to say, of each poem, which would 
I think be very useful. In fact, just as Dante was edited 
immediately after his death so to bring out the meanings 
and allusions of the Christian Year by the efforts of various 
minds. , . . 

After many months of uncertainty at length the 
decision came. It was founded on what may be 

1 Ven. Philip Freeman, Archdeacon of Exeter, author of Principles 
of Divine Service. 

1867 THE DECISION 229 

called a bye-issue, and it came at a time when 
William Butler's consecration as Bishop seemed to 
be only postponed till the last legal difficulties were 
overcome. But in the course of 1867 a Declaration 
was put forth on the subject of the Holy Eucha- 
rist by some of the leaders of the High Church 
clergy, and William Butler's name, as the list was 
alphabetical, headed it. The Archbishop took alarm 
at this, and thought that a man of less pronounced 
opinions would find more favour with the clergy of 
Natal. This practically decided the question. His 
own words, in a letter written to The Guardian, 
under date 21 November, 1867, are sufficient : 

Will you have the kindness to publish the accompanying 
extract from a letter received by me from the Archbishop of 

When, at the end of last year, the news of my election to 
the See of Pietermaritzburg first reached me, the circumstances 
of the case appeared to me so novel and so important that I felt 
myself bound in common prudence to look to those for counsel 
who from their position of authority, were most able both to 
give it, arid also to assist in meeting the difficulties which could 
not fail to surround an effort made in the face of keen and 
intelligent opposition, to win for the Church in the Colonies her 
true and rightful privilege of unfettered religious action. I 
therefore placed myself unreservedly at the disposal of His 
Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. He has come to the 
conclusion, after it cannot be doubted much careful considera- 
tion, that some other than I will best satisfy the requirements 
of the Diocese, and it would be both ungrateful and unbecoming 
in me to dispute his decision. It will be seen therefore that 
whatever regret or pain this somewhat unexpected result has 
caused, I have no course left but to decline the honourable, 
if anxious post of Bishop over the orthodox members of the 
Church of Natal. WILLIAM BUTLER. 


ADDINGTON PARK, Oct. 29th, 1867. 

I have come to the conclusion that I ought to dissuade you 
from availing yourself of your election to the See of Pieter- 
maritzburg. To my mind the appointment of any one of very 
marked opinions to the See would be open to serious objections, 
and it would be better to select some one more calculated to 
meet the various shades of religious opinion that exist among 
faithful members of the Church of England in the Colony of 

He wrote privately to the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury : 

WANTAGE VICARAGE, Oct. 30, 1867. 

MY LORD ARCHBISHOP, You have been good enough to 
permit me to seek your counsel in this anxious matter, and 
I am bound to follow it. 

Pardon me, however, for saying that I receive it with mixed 
feelings. I had so long endeavoured to look at the difficult 
work in Natal and the painful separation from home ties 
and duties as almost certain to be my future lot, that I can 
scarcely now bear to give it up. I have however no doubt 
that others can be found far more worthy than I am, to help 
on the great work of freeing the Church of England from her 
present embarrassments in the Colonies, and that your Grace's 
decision is an indication to me that such is the Will of G-od. 
I have only to ask your permission to publish the letter which 
I received this morning, and to remain 

Your humble and dutiful servant. 

That the final decision came as something of a 
blow is evident from Mr. Liddon's reply to a letter 
which has not come to light. 


CHRISTCHURCH, Thursday, Nov. 7, 1867. 

I was truly sorry to miss you so yesterday. The fact is I 
had quite given you up, thinking that you had come to view 



the matter as settled, however painfully in some respects, and 
so had taken leave of it. I do not think that you need deem 
all the anxieties and discomforts of the last two years as lost. 
On the contrary, your 'zeal,' as the Archbishop quaintly calls 
it, has really given a bodily shape and active impetus to what 
else might never have passed beyond the region of aspirations. 
The Archbishop now is pledged to do something towards pro- 
viding an 'orthodox' bishop for Natal, and that he is so 
pledged is practically your doing. I am not sorry, for higher 
motives than the strong selfish reason which enters into my 
view of the matter, that you are kept by God's providence 
in England. You never could be replaced at Wantage, and 
your departure would have snapped or loosened more sympathies 
and supports in many directions than, of course, it would occur 
to you to think of. 

It may be just as well that the struggle with Colenso should 
not be complicated by a Sacramental controversy, such as a 
much less shrewd opponent than he is, would be sure to raise 
on your arrival. . . . 

It was characteristic of William Butler that he 
did not permit himself, during this long period of 
suspense and anxiety, to relax his efforts for the 
welfare of his parishioners. The "Parish Journal" con- 
tains the usual close inspection and criticism of ser- 
vices, schools, and the rest of the parochial machinery, 
the constant anxiety for the spiritual condition of 
his people, the same expressions of humble sense of 
failure. In the summer of 1867 when the decision 
seemed to be suspended, like the sword of Damocles, 
by a single hair, he went abroad for his holiday, 
and, as has been seen in the previous chapter, 
made a study of certain aspects of French reli- 
gious life. His correspondence reveals some of the 
workings of his mind on the Church difficulties of 
the day. 



WANTAGE VICARAGE, Feb. 8, 1868. 

Thank you for your kind letter. I should have been delighted 
to have caught you for a few minutes. As your scout comfort- 
ingly told me, you had scarcely left your rooms when I called, 
from which, as I told him, I concluded that it would be some 
time before you returned. 

The course of events moves on so rapidly alas, almost always 
in one direction, that of diropia and anxiety, that it is a great 
comfort to compare reckonings, and to feel that those who 
are like-minded are within hail. Have you seen the admirable 
answers of the Bishop of Capetown to Archbishop Thomson 
and Bishop Tart? 1 For dignity, argument, and gentle but 
unmistakeable suggestion of consequences, they are, I think 
unrivalled. In a letter which I have received from him to-day 
he tells me that the Bishop of London writes to him plainly that 
he is in communion with Colenso ! It is right nay, our bounden 
duty to act very cautiously, with all charity and all hope. 
But there is a limit beyond which I, for one, dare not pass, 
and if this coming session of Convocation do not in some way 
firmly and distinctly deal with this question, I conceive that 
action of some kind on our part will become a vital necessity. 
The time is rapidly nearing, when the Bishops must be made 
to see the real state of things, and fairly to face the con- 
sequences, i.e. the possibility of a large body of the most 
devoted of the English clergy being forced to accept at least 
inaction, from the absolute impossibility of co-operating with 
those who trample or allow others to trample on the 'vivendi 

A very cheerful letter came from Miss Milman to Mrs. 
Butler a day or two ago. He seems to be making good progress ; 
but India, she says, is as England was twenty years ago. 2 

How severe an ordeal William Butler passed 
through during the many months of suspense would 

1 See Life of Robert Gray, vol. ii., p. 38, et seq. 

2 The Right Rev. Robert Milman, consecrated Bishop of Calcutta, 
Feb. 2, 1867. 


be known to but few. The outside world, ignorant 
of his sensitiveness and the tender fibres of his 
nature, would imagine that the prospect of a battle 
would be acceptable to one who appeared to many 
combative rather than sensitive. But a letter written 
by Mrs. Butler in October, 1867, when it seemed 
almost certain that the decision would be in favour 
of his going, tells a very different tale. After de- 
scribing her own feelings, and saying that in her 
case the worst was now over, she says : 

But all this comes new to W., and he is, alas ! drinking the 
cup to the dregs not shrinking from it, or giving way, but 
feeling its bitterness. This week of his communicant classes is 
very trying the grief and lamentations of young and old are 
hard to bear, and, as he says, all this brings before him in 
strong contrast the exchange of hatred and reviling for love 
and respect. Depend upon it, no warm weather or variety of 
scene can ever make up to him for the loss of all he really 
cares for. 

The hearts of the people of Wantage had been 
deeply stirred by the fear of losing their Vicar, and 
the churchwardens had written privately to the 
Archbishop, begging him not to let him go. The 
feelings of the parishioners took shape when the 
final decision had been made, in an address, dated 
Wantage, Nov. 20th, 1867: 

REV. SIR, We, the undersigned parishioners of the parish 
of Wantage, having heard the plain and lucid statement made 
by you from the pulpit in reference to your nomination to the 
Bishopric of Natal, and all the subsequent proceedings, ending 
in the opinion of the Archbishop of Canterbury that some other 
person should be appointed to the vacant See, desire to express 
our gratification that you are still to be our spiritual pastor, 

234 MR. KEBLE'S DEATH 1867 

and our sympathy at the trials which have been brought about 
by the late proceedings. 

We duly appreciate the many works which have been done 
by you in this parish during the last twenty years, and we 
sincerely hope that your life may be long spared to continue 
the good works which have emanated from your zeal and energy, 
and we also beg to express our feelings of love and regard for 
yourself personally, being satisfied that under your guidance we 
shall be kept from the strife and contention which have dis- 
turbed so many parishes. 

This address was signed by representatives of all 
classes in the parish, some of whom had been his 
chief opponents in former years. A still more sub- 
stantial proof of the people's gratification was a 
testimonial consisting of nearly 100, which he 
accepted, and expended in filling the west window 
of the church with stained glass. 

In the course of these years of grave anxiety 
his most trusted adviser, Mr. Keble, was taken to 
his rest. To the last letters exchanged between 
them is added one written many years later to the 
Eev. Walter Lock, 1 author of a Life of John 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Jan. 28, 1866. 

. . . I need not say to you how much we think of dear 
Mrs. Keble and of you. If by taking duty at Hursley, or in 
any other way, I can be of the least service to you, I know 
nothing which will give me more pleasure. I pray heartily 
that the God of all comfort may give you in this hour of sorrow 
a double portion of that comfort which He has given to so 
many through you. My wife joins me in deepest sympathy, 
and so do the 'Sisters.' 

1 Now Warden of Keble College, Oxford. 

1866 LAST LETTERS 235 


BOURNEMOUTH, Feb. 13, 1866. 

My wife has just reminded me about sending this which I 
inclose, with all best wishes and thanks for your good prayers 
and all your kindness : nor least for your friendly thought of 
helping me in case of need in my parish. It would be a keen 
necessity which would force me to have recourse to persons so 
much overtasked already, and I trust it will not occur; but 
we thank you all the same. 

The messenger has not yet come, but fresh symptoms have 
occurred which seem meant to warn us of his approach. I 
wish we were all as prepared to part as (humanly speaking) 
she by God's mercy is to go. 

The enclosed is especially, of course, for the Home. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Feb. 14, 1866. 

We do indeed feel very deeply the kindness of Mrs. Keble 
and yourself in remembering the Home and its needs at this 
special time. It seems almost to ensure to our work an interest 
in the prayers and good offices of the Blessed. Much indeed 
do we need them. 

Thank you also very much for your account of dear Mrs. 
Keble. How like a sweet autumn seems her gradual fading ; 
if indeed that be the right word ! Pray do not hesitate to 
accept my offer, if you need help. I have at present a super- 
numerary curate, i.e. one more than my actually needful 
number. I saw Liddon a few days since at Oxford. It is 
a great piece of good fortune that he should have got the 
Bampton Lectures. I lent his sermons to my neighbour, Lord 
Overstone, a complete Whig of the old school. He was so charmed 
with them, that he bought them at once, and talked of taking 
lodgings at Oxford to hear his Bampton Lectures. I thought 
that you would be interested in hearing this. 1 

'The "Parish Journal" for 1866 contains these entries: "Thursday 
in Holy Week, March 29. Our dear friend Mr. Keble departed to 
his rest. April 6. Mr. Keble buried at Hursley. It was a touching 
and yet blessed sight to see the gathering of good and earnest people 
round the grave of that holy and revered friend. The day was sunuy 
and bright, and all spoke of peace." 

236 MR. KEBLE'S DEATH 1866 


60 UPPER SEYMOUR ST., W., Good Friday, 1866. 

You will be very deeply distressed at hearing that dear 
Mr. Keble died at Bournemouth yesterday at one o'clock. His 
brother Mr. Thomas Keble was with him, and read the Com- 
mendatory prayer at 8 A.M., and again at one, as he passed 
away. It is only within the last four or five days that we 
have been alarmed about him : as probably you have heard 
at the beginning of last week Mrs. Keble was thought to be 
dying; but on Wednesday she rallied in her wonderful way. 
But the strain had been too much for him. 

The blank which his death has made in earth is something 
terrible. But how high must be his place in heaven ! I try to 
think of this. That he should thus lie down to die beneath 
the very Cross itself, is quite in keeping with the whole of 
his most beautiful and saintly life. 

W. J. B. TO REV. W. LOCK. 

THE DEANERY, Lincoln, Whitsunday, 1893. 

DEAR SIR, Though I have not had the pleasure of making 
personal acquaintance with you, yet I venture to trouble you 
with a few words respecting my dear friend Mr. Keble, whose 
life you have lately written with so great discrimination and 
sympathy. I believe that there are very few now alive of 
those who like myself were privileged to be admitted to inti- 
mate friendship with him, and therefore I desire, before I too 
am called away, to offer you a few reminiscences of one so 
altogether noble and uncommon. To do this will be a sort 
of relief to myself, and pray deal with what I am endeavouring 
to jot down exactly as seems best to yourself. 

I had the great good fortune of passing the first two years 
of my ministerial life at Dogmersfield, where the Reverend 
Charles Dyson was rector. It is a very small parish, but for 
some time past he had been invalided by pulmonary weakness, 
which rendered a curate's help absolutely necessary. He was 
a very remarkable man one of the famous old C. C. C. set 
and in some ways looked up to more than any other both for 
his vast knowledge, high character, and slight seniority. Mr. 


Keble was his bosom friend, and on one occasion when a 
difficult question was asked, referred the questioner to "a 
certain wise old man who lives at Dogmersfield." Mr. Keble 
visited Dogmersfield Eectory not unfrequently, and in this 
way I first became acquainted with him. He was particularly 
kind to all young people, and again and again invited me to 
Hursley, whither one went almost trembling with gratitude 
at his intense kindness, and at the same time with a certain 
sense of awe. The way of living at Hursley Vicarage was in 
some ways of the same style as Dogmersfield Rectory, and 
[it was] inhabited much in the same way. Mrs. Dyson and 
Mrs. Keble were both childless; and in each case a most 
charming sister of the husband made part of the family. 
Nothing could be more simple even homely. And yet one 
felt that there was a very atmosphere of high intellect and 
refined taste. There was an old-fashioned garden, fertile and 
full ; a fine growth of trees, mostly elms ; small but cheerful 
rooms ; not very many books classics and Fathers of old 
editions, as Savile's St. Chrysostom. Mr. Keble had at that 
time a very comfortable pony carriage, and a couple of rough 
grey ponies. 

After that first visit I felt myself at home at Hursley, and had 
the pleasure of introducing Philip Freeman, the author of 
Principles of Divine Service afterwards Archdeacon of Exeter 
and of spending a day in my marriage holiday under the 
Vicarage roof. Mr. Keble was one of the kindest of men, 
liberal in all money matters, free of his time and knowledge, and 
most encouraging to young men such as at that time I was. He 
was even good enough to look through and help me greatly in 
preparing for the press a volume of Sermons for Working Men, 
which I published in 1847. With all this however he was 
a man who knew well how to hold his own. In the kindest, yet 
most unmistakeable manner, he could ' put down ' anything that 
seemed foolish or undesirable. I remember once, at a time 
when Dr. Pusey's relations with Miss Sellon were much criti- 
cised, ... I ventured to say something of the kind. He 
turned sharply upon me with, " You must not say that. Re- 
member, I am a regular Puseyite." At another time, when 
staying with me at Wantage, a number of us were discussing the 
evils of pluralism ; suddenly he looked up and exclaimed, " My 

238 MR. KEBLE'S DEATH 1893 

father was a pluralist, and (with a pause) I am not ashamed of 
him." When I had to preach the sermon at the Anniversary 
Church Festival, just as the bell had stopped and we were 
passing his study, I asked to look at a passage in St. Chrysostom, 
which I was about to quote. He asked me whether I would 
have the Greek or the English translation. Having only an 
instant in which to glance at the passage, and knowing the 
difficulty of recognising the contractions without a little practice, 
I asked for the English, and received from him a sort of ' Et tu, 
Brute ' look. He was very fond of the little formula, " Don't 
you think ? " " Don't you think," he said to me on one occasion, 
" that the time is coming when we shall have to preach a great 
deal about the Fifth Commandment ? " 

He could sometimes be even angry. On one of the famous 
meetings of the National Society, in 1848, when Archdeacon 
Manning, as he then was, had carried a somewhat trimming 
resolution, he was much vexed, and said, "It is not the first 
time that Manning has let us down." He had no confidence in 
him, nor in any one who acted diplomatically. He felt keenly 
Newman's article on the " Lyra Innocentium," in the Dublin 
Review. I was with him shortly after its publication, and he 
was greatly offended at certain expressions and statements con- 
tained in it. At the same time he was most considerate of 
anything like real feeling. Long after he had laid by the money 
to build the present Hursley church he waited to begin the 
work for the sake of one old man who had a pew in which 
he had worshipped for years, and to which he was much 

A day at Hursley was not to be forgotten. Prayers were at 
eight, always said by heart by Mr. Keble, covering his eyes with 
his hand ; then followed a meditation, one of the R.C. Bishop 
Milner's, very short and simple; then the plainest breakfast. 
Mattins at ten, I think; dinner, again most plain, at one. A walk 
in the afternoon ; tea at six, after which he would sit in the 
window, putting together his sermon, or any literary work 
generally on scraps of paper, backs of letters, and the like 
and entering whenever there was need into the conversation of 
the party. 

He was most particular in observing the fasts and festivals of 
the Church. On a fast-day he never took butter at breakfast. 


And I remember how, during the ' Expectation Week ' he 
would never leave home, but continued as it were waiting with 
the apostles for the ' Unspeakable Grift.' It happened that 
some business once called me to Hursley at that time. He 
asked me to preach, but I of course declined, hoping to have the 
opportunity of listening to him. There were perhaps a dozen 
people in the church. He turned to them from the reading-desk 
and addressed them, as was his custom at that time, quite 
without note. He spoke of the Apostles waiting. " Perhaps," 
he said, " you would not think ten days a long time. But just 
think for a moment. They were waiting for the great promise, 
the greatest Gift that even God could bestow on man. They 
were eager to do their Master's bidding, but till the Gift came 
they could not do it. They desired to preach the Gospel, but 
till the Gift they must remain inactive. They prayed all day 
and still it came not. They prayed all night and still it came 
not. depend upon it, ten days was a very long time for them 
to wait." That was all, most simple, and yet as he said it, most 

There are few things that I rejoice in more than that it 
was given to me to introduce H. P. Liddon to Mr. Keble. Mr. 
Keble had more to do with forming Liddon's mind than most 
people are aware. The simplicity and directness combined with 
the scholarship and great ability of Mr. Keble had a great effect 
on Liddon, steadying him, and Anglicising him, and helping 
him to guide others. Also we owe to Mr. Keble the absolute 
firmness of Miss Yonge. I mean her strong grasp of Church 
principles, in spite of many forces which might have drawn her 
into the ' femme forte ' direction. 

I could with a little effort recall much more, but I dare 
not inflict more upon you. As I said in the beginning of this 
letter, pray destroy or do anything that you like with what I 
have written. 



THE anxious question of Natal once settled, he 
resumed the thread of his parochial life, which, 
indeed, had never been dropped. His letters to Mr. 
Liddon give glimpses of his work and interests : 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Dec. 10, 1869. 

It is so long since anything has passed between us that I 
feel quite shy in beginning a letter the more so as I have 
really nothing special to say, and write only because I want 
to hear of and from you. 

Have you been in Oxford all the term ? I suppose that you 
find, as I find, that local and immediate claims on one's time 
grow more and more absorbing, just as, if one's microscope were 
stronger, one might write treatises on a rose leaf or a fly's wing. 
It is quite inexpressible how very much more I become tied 
to Wantage, and simply, as I imagine, unable to leave it without 
injuring the work of the place. Rightly or wrongly, I keep 
on enunciating that work is best done for the Church by doing 
that which is directly given, and I shrink greatly from external 
calls. Our annual confirmation took place last week. The 
Bishop of 0. kept on coquetting with it, saying that he would 
come, etc., then hoped that I would make the ground certain 
by making sure of another Bishop in case he was prevented; 
finally did not come. Fortunately I had caught Addington 


Nassaviensis, 1 and he most kindly confirmed, and received or 
professed a Sister (I cannot get the verb right) the next day. 
It amuses me in the midst of the world-shaking changes which 
go on on all sides politically, socially, ecclesiastically, and, 
above all, ritually to find how little we move here. You might 
almost return as curate, and find just what you remember sixteen 
or seventeen years ago. I do not mean that various things have 
not been done, but the general tfOos is so similar. Of course 
sooner or later the tide must turn here as elsewhere. I trust 
not in my time. 

Those two meetings at Oxford and Cambridge simply fill me 
with amazement. That a body of men, mostly clergy, and all 
members of the Church of England, should almost passionately 
resolve on praying the legislature to do that which must, ex 
hypothesi, divorce their own religion from the education of the 
place, is the strangest and most inconceivable phenomenon that, 
I venture to say, any age in the whole history of the world can 

show. And the grotesque actually applauds and rejoices. 

I wish that people would realise the existence of that extremely 
sectarian sect the non-believers, or rather the believers in not 
believing and see how they are playing into their hands. This 
is the religion which they are foisting on future England. 

We are all as usual getting older, etc., gradually but surely. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Dec. 12, 1869. 

Your letters always open a whole mine of thought, and I 
cannot rest without giving vent to some of the things that 
occur to me. The first is a very earnest wish that you could 
come here, were it only for a night. I long to talk over some 
of these most serious matters with you. You see I live so 
very narrow a life, among my flock and with the dear good 
Sisters, that I have really no chance of knowing what the 
true workings of things are. I am tied by the leg, and Oxford 
near as it is and still more London with its stir and interests 
are almost 'terra incognita' to me. I shrink from societies and 
gatherings and the like, partly from sheer occupation, and 

lr The Right Rev. Addington R P. Venables, Bishop of Nassau, 
Bahamas, 1863 to 1876. 



partly because so little seems to me to come from them. So 
in regard to this Temple 1 business. I simply know the fact 
that he is designated a Bishop, of course by the Prime Minister, 
but the arguments for such a step I know not. I take it for 
granted that Gladstone has condescended to explain himself 
to someone, and I cherish a kind of hope that a man of his 
goodness and intelligence in Church questions must have some 
kind of plausible airoXoyla. to put forth. You probably know 
all that can be said on both sides. I have not taken any 
vigorous part in the matter, because I conceive that the evil 
lies far more deep than the mere appointment of a man of 
T.'s views. It lies, as it seems to me, in the co-existence in 
one community of three sets of minds, or schools, vitally 
differing each from the other, cohering simply by the fact 
that they are in a State Establishment. If they are there, 
each, I suppose, has a sort of claim on the donors of patronage, 
and it is only a question of time when its claims shall be 
allowed. If a man of T.'s opinions held office ... of course 
he would be appointed to-morrow, made Archbishop of Canter- 
bury if a vacancy occurs. Accidentally there happens to be 
a Prime Minister of (supposed) High Church opinions, and 
we are therefore astonished and scandalised by his selection 
of Temple. But if he had appointed (say) Bright, the principle 
of evil would have been there just the same, only waiting its 
opportunity to start into life. All our misfortunes date from 
and have their origin in that hideous Gorham decision. When 
one has lived through that, nothing seems unendurable. Until 
that has been dealt [with], we have nothing for it but to 
look for wave after wave of trouble. And what pains me most 
is to see how the moving spirits among us ignore and set 
aside this. Men like our dear friend A. H. M. and those 
whom the Church Times represents, go on perfectly at ease, 
until they are told to wear fewer flounces of lace, or the like, 
and then they shriek and scold as if life depended on it. I 
never could persuade A. H. M. to take up the Court of Final 
Appeal with a will. Now the E. C. U. is most anxious to 
do so. But why ? Because it has given judgements adverse 
to Ritual, not because it is inherently evil. 

lr The Eight Rev. F. Temple, then Bishop Designate of Exeter, 
now Archbishop of Canterbury. 


Touching the Oxford meeting, is it quite impossible to 
organise a counter meeting? You cannot be worse off than you 
are. And even a moderate gathering would be better than 
none at all. Dr. Pusey, Bright, various Heads of houses, Stubbs, 
Medd, Wall, yourself, and others whom you know better than 
I, would surely constitute a meeting whose counterblast would 
not fall impotent. It is, I think, a rule that 'if a thing cannot 
do harm and may do it [? good], it is best to do it.' The 
worst that can follow is that people may consider such a 
meeting inferior in influence to the first. And if they do, 
it is possible that this may encourage the enemy to proceed. 
But the enemy is at your doors now; and certainly silence 
will not keep him away. I have great faith in those who 
fight losing games ! It sometimes happens that a chance occurs 
when people least expect it. However you of course know all 
about this far better than I. Do try to pay us a visit. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Dec. 15, 1869. 

Thank you very much for your letter of yesterday. I am 
tempted to send you the enclosed which I have just received, 
as an interesting and somewhat typical statement of views. It 
is written by a really good fellow, in Holy Orders, a Fellow of 
Trin. Coll. Cam., with whom I had ventured to expostulate when 
I saw his name at that meeting at St. John's. Curiously enough, 
from different premises he and you seem to arrive at the same 
conclusion, viz. the desirableness of breaking up the collegiate 
system. ... I try and try to put myself into these men's 
attitude of thought and I cannot. I cannot understand what 
are the motives that are at work within them. I quite under- 
stand your republican unbeliever who runs atilt at everything 
human and divine, except his own wild vagaries. But what 
thoroughly puzzles me is why men who profess to believe in 
something, who call themselves Churchmen, who accept our 
Lord's Divinity and Atonement, should lend themselves to 
forward the work of destruction and help to break down all 
those barriers by which faith has been kept alive in our own 
land. It is easy, of course, to say that the faith can take care 
of itself. But that argument, fairly worked out, would do away 


with the very existence of the Church. What is that but the 
divinely appointed Body to preserve the deposit intact 1 

May I say one thing, my dear friend ? Do you not think 
that it would be well for you not so very much to inhabit the 
House of Mourning? You have had so very much of sorrow 
during the last few years that it cannot have failed to give 
all things a somewhat mournful aspect to you and is this 
quite wholesome ? Pray forgive me for saying this. . . . 


WANTAGE VICAEAGE, Feb. 20, 1870. 

I have been most busy for the last twelve days, preaching 
and talking till I was more than weary to our dear Sisters at 
Bedminster, Plymouth, and Lostwithiel, and to the various con- 
gregations and workers and friends connected with each of the 
little communities. Most interesting and most successful they 
are, winning souls and drawing love to themselves, and proving 
more and more clearly that in them we have the true 'missing 
link' which can bring all classes into one, and train souls to 
accept the ' sincere milk of the word.' You will think me very 
enthusiastic, but you must forgive me. My heart is greatly 
moved at seeing what organisation, self-sacrifice, can do, even 
with such minute branches as we have been able to plant out. 
It is fortunate for you that I am not likely to see you for 
some time, else you would have, I fear, a tremendous outpouring. 
Well, all this prelude is to explain why I have not written to 
you before, not to congratulate you, for I really cannot con- 
gratulate any one on receiving ecclesiastical preferment (even 
without cure of souls, the responsibility of a high place is, 'a 
mon avis,' very great), but to say how deeply I am interested 
in all that concerns you, and therefore not the least in this, 1 
which seems to open out a new sort of life to you. Very 
earnestly I pray that in this, as in so much else, you may have 
the door opened to you to spend and be spent for Him Whom 
only in this world and for ever it is worth while for a reasonable 
being to love and to serve. 

I feel unhappy at the thought of your being separated from 
Oxford, and I cannot think how the great cause will bear your 

1 The Eev. H. P. Liddon was appointed Canon of St. Paul's in 1870. 



removal. Is it not possible that you may still retain your con- 
nexion with it? 

In the summer of 1870 he was taking his holiday 
in North Germany, and at Cologne came for the 
first time in contact with visible tokens of the 
Franco-Prussian War. The sight of the sick and 
wounded, and the accounts of the great battles, so 
moved him to be up and doing, and to take part 
in the work of the Red Cross Association, that he 
went to the English Chaplain at Berlin and asked 
if he could render any help. He was referred to 
the Ambassador, Lord Augustus Loftus, who replied 
that he had no applications. Finding he could do 
nothing, he dismissed the subject from his mind 
and continued his tour. In crossing the water on 
his way home, he met with a lady who had been 
acting as chief of the nurses at Sedan, and she said, 
" We want you to come out ; you will be useful 
among us in many ways." After due consultation, 
he went to Colonel Loyd Lindsay and offered his 
services, which were gladly accepted. He received a 
commission under the Red Cross Society, and went out 
in September to Arlon,the place selected for the English 
depot. In a lecture which he afterwards gave in 
the Wantage Church Reading Room, he detailed 
his experiences. He said the collection of stores 
afforded evidence of the benevolence of the English 
people, but at the same time showed their utter 
ignorance of things needed. He was requested by 
Captain Brackenbury to proceed to Sedan to ascertain 
the numbers of the wounded there and in the neigh- 


bouring villages, and the requirements of the various 
hospitals. He found great difficulty in getting ad- 
mitted into Sedan, where he became acquainted with 
the horrors of war in the most terrible form. There 
were about 2000 wounded in Sedan, and an average 
of 150 in each of the 20 villages he visited. Subse- 
quently he went to Saarbrlicken. It was always a 
great sorrow to him that he was prevented continuing 
this work, which, as he said, really seemed to lift one 
above the earth, but the dangerous illness of one 
of his curates from typhoid fever recalled him to 

Most of the letters written at this time have been 
preserved, and give a vivid picture of what he saw. 


COLOGNE, Aug. 24, 1870. 

... I have had a great deal of talk with Harperath, 1 and the 
more I hear, the more wicked and wanton the whole thing 
appears, and the more I feel that the Prussians are justified in 
all that they have done so far. They may be stiff, perky, un- 
pleasant neighbours and the like, but there was no act of theirs 
to justify L. N. in declaring war at this tremendous cost. And 
they are quite right in resolving that, for this generation at 
least, the French shall know what war really means. While I 
write, I wait for the arrival of the daily steamer, filled with 
wounded, to be distributed here and at Diisseldorf. The 
Deutz Hotel opposite has the Cross flying to show that it is 
taking them in, and there is an ambulance of some kind on the 
quay of the steamers. The quay is covered with people, and 
will be more so with lint, chairs, fruit, wine, etc. The whole 
of Cologne is filled with ' landwehr ' steady, stalwart, soldierlike, 

x The landlord of his hotel at Cologne, and a friend of many 
years' standing. 

1870 COLOGNE IN 1870 247 

men between thirty and forty, who are going off to supply the 
places of the first line, the regulars. These 'landwehr' have all 
passed through their military course; many have fought at 
Sadowa, etc., as their medals and crosses show, and they leave 
at home in farms, etc., wives and children. Many of them are 
gentlemen, or at least of the better classes, as is easy to perceive : 
and here they are going off to-morrow to become food for 
powder, because the French choose to go to war. Harperath's 
whole body of servants, including a 'boots' who has been with 
him twelve or fourteen years, and who cried, he said, like a child 
to leave him, must be off to the war. He told me that 
for a day or two literally he and Madame were left alone. 
Fortunately there were no 'Reisende.' Can we wonder that 
the Prussians are stern in their justice, and that the shops are 
full of indignant chaff or rather, bitter satire sometimes not 
very refined, on L. N., Eugenie, and little 'Loulou.' All his 
dicta are travestied, e.g. TEmpire c'est la paix' and the 'Baptism 
of fire.' They never forget to give full dimensions to the 
'corporation' of this 'Empereur,' and all the 'diablerie' in which 
the Germans delight, comes out in one form or another. 'A 
dream and the reality,' represents L. B., etc., greeted by Victory, 
about to enter Berlin. Underneath the whole French army 
is passing under the yoke. Then 'Vaterland's Lieder,' 'Die 
Wacht am Rhein,' etc., are everywhere. Harperath tells me 
that all business is stopped, and well it may be. Two days after 
war was declared Cologne was full, every one rushing home. 
One night the Swiss train from Basle threw 800 upon the town. 
People rushed up and down frantically to find beds. His 
house was filled with all sort of swells. A few days after all 
was gone, and the soldiers swarming into the trains. The 33rd 
went out 3000 strong, and returned in a fortnight with 300 
survivors. They were all, he said, clean, well set up young men. 
All Cologne is in mourning. His wife has two cousins in the 
war and another is off to-morrow. . . . 

Well, my next will be from Berlin. I shall know then 
something of my future. I could easily give a fortnight if it 
would be of any avail. If not, I suppose that I shall return 
upon my steps and find my way home. May the Calais route 
be open. 



STADT ROM, BERLIN, Aug. 29, 1870. 

So much has happened since I wrote from Cologne that I 
hardly know how to begin or where to end. I will begin at 
the end. I told you that I had made up my mind to offer 
myself, if any use could be made of me, for the care of the 
wounded, or rather for the care of those in charge of them. 
I went therefore to the eleven A.M. matins at the Monbijou 
Palace, and spoke to the chaplain, a Mr. Belson, who has 
been thirty -three years here, and talks with so strong a 
German accent that I took him for one. He seemed to think the 
thing practicable. The Ambassador, Lord Augustus Loftus, was 
however at Potsdam, three-quarters of an hour's rail from Berlin, 
and as the matter was pressing he advised me to go to Potsdam 
and there catch him. He wrote a note of introduction. Ac- 
cordingly I started at three, duly arrived at Potsdam, and of 
course found H. E. out for the day. However, I asked his 
dining hour seven, said the somewhat surly Prussian, who 
kept the door and meanwhile I addressed myself to dinner, 
of which I got an ample allowance excellent crayfish soup, 
beef steak, butter, cheese, and unexceptionable beer for 18^ 
groschen ! Then I wandered into Sans Souci, and saw the water- 
works poor and stupid and the old ' Schloss,' and the new 
'Schloss,' and the purlieus of 'der alte Fritz,' and thought of 
the queer lots who had promenaded there; and then I went 
back to 22 Weinmeister Strasse, a very long walk, where is 
the Gesandschaft's summer residence. I believe that he was 
at dinner, though I called at 6.30, and that seven was some 
dodge of the porter's. However, he did see me, and told me, 
as I thought very probable, that there was really nothing 
that he knew of in which I could be utilised, and so there is 
an end of that. I made an offering for the wounded through 
the chaplain; and at all events I feel that I have done my 
best. You may think it Quixotic, but if you saw the carriages 
full of prisoners and wounded, and read and heard the accounts 
fresh from the battlefield, you would not, I think, be surprised 
that one should long to help, even if it were but scraping 
' charpie.' . . . There are but few, comparatively, of the 
wounded here, but heaps of prisoners at Spandau, the fortress 


not far off. . . . But there are no rows. Everything is 
perfectly calm and quiet. The news shops only and the print 
shops are besieged. I quite marvel at the simple undated 
demeanour of the people. It is not that they are not interested, 
but their self-respect restrains them. If you talk to any one you 
very soon find out what lies underneath. Meanwhile the war 
slays its tens of thousands, and you see people in mourning, 
just enough to show that the blow cuts deep. . . . 


KOLN, Sept. 4, 1870. 

. . . Here I am at last, having arrived last night ; as usual. 
I need not tell you how the chorus from Paderborn here is 
' Napoleon ist gefangen.' I heard it first at eight A.M., and the 
whole line of railway (at least at all the stations) is decorated 
with green boughs and flags, and resounds with the shouts of 
boys and men in and out of the train. This seems like the 
beginning of the end. It is quite clear that the French have 
nothing to oppose the solid steam-engine-like movement of 
the German troops. As I felt sure after the first battle, the 
French are out -numbered, out -manoeuvred, and ont-manned. 
The Germans are better all through. The more I see of 
these Germans, the more rejoiced I am at their success. They 
deserve it. They have made sacrifices of the most tremendous 
kind, and they are merely obtaining that for which they have 
been willing to pay the most costly price, i.e. security from 
a very vexatious and capricious neighbour. It is absolutely 
absurd to suppose that the Germans could court war. Think 
what war is to them. It is not as with us, a mere risking of 
the off-scouring of the nation, nor as with the French, a matter 
of conscription from which the wealthier and better can escape, 
but it is an affair which touches the whole nation. As I read 
in the Norddeutsche Zeitung or some such name, a sort of 
Government paper, yesterday, in a battle there stand side by 
side the master of a manufactory and his men, professors 
from the university, married men, clerks from offices, and 
nothing but necessity to protect life and land, no love of 
glory, no desire to add fresh territory, or the like would 
induce them to go out. They are not ' enfants perdus ' or 


gladiators or adventurers, but solid steady men, for the loss 
of whom nothing can compensate. It was a cruel and wanton 
act of him who forced them into this bloody war, and now 
that he is, as they say, "caught in a mouse-trap," you may 
rely on it, there will not be "my brother Benhadad," but 
something just and stern will be his portion. As the papers 
rightly say, "The French might have been at peace with us 
for centuries, we wanted no war; but we are determined to 
give them a lesson now which they will recollect for at least 
another century." I fully believe from all I hear and read 
that they will annex Strassburg, and probably Alsace. I am 
sorry for this, but I am not surprised. If you could see, as 
I have seen, the wounded borne through the streets on ' Bahre * 
on men's shoulders, and the lists of dead which the newspapers 
give day after day, you would feel that the Germans were 
right in 'scotching' this serpent of France, which has for 
so many years raised its head and threatened to swallow them. 
Nothing is more foolish than for the ' junker conservatif ' party 
in England to hanker after the French, except for the Radical 
party to imagine that the German cause is the cause of liberty. 
The Prussian regime is at least as despotic as the French. It 
is true that one is governed by a king, the other by an emperor; 
but the principle of government is exactly the same in each. 
In fact, the name of emperor applies rightly only to the 
Emperor of Rome. It is the equivalent secular to the Pope, 
and as there can be but one Pope, so only one emperor. King, 
grand duke, elector, are all in truth absolute. But the English 
ignoramus does not take this in, and shudders at the word 
emperor. Cologne was thoroughly alive last night. Cannons 
were firing from the Caserne across the river, and the whole 
city was hung with flags, and brilliantly, if not ingeniously, 
illuminated. You may imagine how picturesque was the Hohe 
Strasse in its narrowness and the height of the houses. I 
wandered about for an hour or more. All the people were 
orderly ; there was no evil, as far as I could see, of any kind, 
either of drunkenness or otherwise. Joy was on every face. 
A regiment of boys with coloured lamps on poles, marched 
in quick time singing some patriotic song, and the Caserne 
on the other side of the river was very lively. Old Harperath 
mounted a fine twenty years' old Prussian eagle, and tallow was 


plentifully displayed in the windows facing the streets. With 
him I have had much talk. The dinner to-day was at first 
literally a table d'hote, for he and I were the only diners. 
Afterwards madame came, and I think five more guests. But 
he is very cheerful. He invested 5000 thalers in the Prussian 
loan, and besides good interest, his purchase is now worth 
150 premium. This makes up for other misfortunes in the 
fewness of Eeisende. I am occupying the room which you and 
E. had last year, with the oleanders and view of the Rhine. 
. . . Whom should I meet in the Dom this morning but 
the Master of Trinity and Mrs. Thompson. He was disposed 
to be very chatty, thought that the German papers have been 
too bragging and exacting. He forgets to make the allowances 
for a people who have suffered for years under the provocation 
of France, and who have suddenly, and to their own surprise, 
found themselves the strongest people in Europe. All I can 
say of my own experience is that, for civility, if you treat them 
rightly, I know none who surpass them. They will stand no 
nonsense, and they have no grimace about them, but in all 
essentials there is nothing to be complained of. 

He returned to England, and started again for 
the seat of war, to serve under the Red Cross 
Society for aid to the sick and wounded, on 
Sept. 20. 


ARLON, Sept. 23, 1870. 

Here I am at headquarters, going off to-day on a job . . . 
as ' eclaireur ' to find out what is wanted in all the country 
round Sedan. I am on a roving commission to buy myself 
a horse and get on as I can, reporting diligently to headquarters ; 
I hope that I shall do it all right, but am anxious, as you may 

suppose. They want more men, and I mentioned . Capt. 

Brackenbury eagerly accepted. But at dinner I heard so much 
of the dysentery and typhus at Saarbriick that I told them that 
I feared to send for him. . . . The weather is lovely, so 
bright and calm. The country too is very charming. My 
route is (1) to Libramont ; (2) Bouillon, where I have a letter to 


the commandant; (3) to Sedan, where I hope to sleep, and then 
about the country, especially to Donchery. 


SEDAN, Sept 24, 1870. 

Here I am in the centre of all the worst suffering that has 
fallen on this unfortunate land. I arrived here yesterday even- 
ing, and a young doctor who was with us distinctly perceived 
and pointed out to me the smell of putrefying human flesh, as we 
drew near the gates of the town. But I had better begin at the 
beginning and give you the whole of my story. I wrote last 
on Thursday from Arlon, having just received my instructions as 
' eclaireur,' and having my journey before me. I have now, I 
hope, half accomplished my errand, and finished with Sedan. I 
left Arlon by the 10.30 train, and proceeded by train to 
Libramont, thence by two omnibuses to Sedan, changing 
' voitures ' at Bouillon. In the train I travelled with a Mr. 
and Mrs. Beauclerk, whom I had met the day before. They 
were at Sedan at the time of the bombardment, and were among 
the first to look after the wounded. They, with some Belgian 
gentlemen and ladies, had bought straw and carried the wounded 
on a roughly-formed ambulance, till better arrangements could 
be made. They described the sight of the 80,000 prisoners, 
guarded like sheep, with a few hundreds of Uhlans behind and 
before, driving them in with their lances if they straggled. 
Mrs. B. had her apron full of bread which she gave to the 
prisoners, and was threatened with death by a Prussian officer 
for doing so. In the omnibus I came upon an American Major- 
General, who had permission from Count Bismarck to join the 
royal headquarters. We had the coup6 to ourselves and made 
a pleasant journey of it. He is a strong-built soldierly man, 
named Hazen, and had commanded a 'corps d'arme"e' in the 
American War. He knew no French nor German, but otherwise 
was a thoughtful and well read man, full of fun. ... I 
also travelled with two doctors, one an old army surgeon who 
had been in the Crimean Campaign ; the other, a bright young 
fellow, also a doctor, named Colley late Davies formerly scholar 
of Trin. Coll. Cam. We all four consorted together and made 
a merry time of it. The road went through the great forest 



of Ardennes, and was very beautiful in parts ; atmosphere as 
before, charming. When we were some miles from Sedan a 
spring broke, and we had to creep all the way. Thus we found 
out what is a town in state of siege. We arrived at Sedan at 
7.30, and found the gates shut for the night. Two poor young 
mothers with their babies whom in the danger they had sent off 
into Belgium, were of our party, and there seemed before us 
nothing but the woods, in which to this day dead bodies are 
continually found. However, by proper application and suppli- 
cation, we got in with such luggage as we could carry, and then 
came the question of a bed. The first hotel, de 1'Europe, was 
crammed, and poor madame, evidently worried to death by 
applications for beds, was inclined to be savage at me for 
pressing her to find us (the M.-G. and myself) somewhere to 
stow our carcases. I bethought me of a gar^on to conduct us, 
and promised him a franc if he would find us a lodging. This 
acted, and we were soon in the strangest house I ever saw. It 
seems like nothing outside ; and inside, as the landlady told me, 
she found room for forty-five people. There is a spiral staircase 
which saves room, and off it open a regular rabbit warren of 
' chambres a deux pieces,' in one of which M.-G. and I took up 
our abode. The smells are awful inside and outside, and I have 
just soaked our room with carbolic acid, which a benevolent 
doctor has bestowed upon me. (We are all I mean the ' rouge 
croix ' folk very soon hail-fellow-well-met.) I think that the 
Prussians need only enclose the place for a few days to fill it 
with typhoid. Everywhere the drains are most dreadful, but this 
corner seems the worst of all. Everybody must be at home at 
nine P.M. else he is in danger of being arrested ' nicht nach 
neun Freilass,' said a Prussian soldier to me when I asked whether 
it was true. We got a good meal at the hotel, and madame be- 
came very gracious when she found that she was relieved from 
the difficulty of the bed. This morning I had planned to get a 
' voiture ' and hunt up the different places to which I was bound, 
but soon found it hopeless. No one would let me have a horse, 
and the various ' patrons ' were disposed to be very sulky. I 
caught something about ' autorisation,' and gathered that if I 
could get a command from the Prussian authorities I could floor 
them. First I got hold of a bright sort of a fellow, a hanger-on 
at the hotel, and engaged him for the day; then after breakfast 


started off ' pour reclamer mes effets,' which were numerous 
owing to my purchases at Brussels, from the omnibus bureau. I 
got them and the M.-G.'s portmanteau with some difficulty, and 
then proceeded to the Commandant's office, where my friend 
hoped to get tidings as to how he should proceed to head- 
quarters. You cannot imagine greater politeness than the 
Germans showed us. I stated the case, showed the permit, and 
finally had the pleasure of hearing that at ' zwei Uhr,' a German 
architect was to be sent off in a 'Wagen,' and that he might 
go with him. Then I thought that I would do a stroke of work 
for myself, and accordingly pleaded the importance of my com- 
mission ; and readily obtained the order for horses. You should 
have seen the change it produced on the state of things. ' I 
might have what I liked, when I liked, how 1 liked.' ' Would I 
have one or two 1 ' etc., etc. So I arranged to do my work here 
to-day and start to-morrow for the villages. 

My first point was the Anglo-American Ambulance at the 
barracks, on the top of a hill overlooking the Meuse. ... I 
found Miss Pearson, etc., and C. Wood. With them I arranged 
for a Celebration at eight to-morrow in her rooms. . . . She 
is to accompany me to-morrow. 

I soon found that no one could really help me, and that 
I must take my own line. I went therefore next to the ' Societe 
Fran9aise pour le secours des blesses,' and had a long conver- 
sation with M. de Martagnac, who is its head. He gave me a 
list of the villages where wounded are, and also told me what 
was chiefly required. I was particularly anxious to obtain 
details, and not generally that they would be glad of anything 
that we could send. I find that trousers are most required. The 
shells have torn them to pieces. On the whole the wounded are 
gradually being ' evacues,' by which it is meant that they are 
being sent away. Two thousand are at present in Sedan arid its 
neighbourhood. Some 400 are to go off on Monday to Charleroi 
and the N. of France. The Belgian authorities however refuse 
to receive more. 

I took careful notes of our conversation, and went on to 
the Couvent de 1'Assomption, which a letter to Colonel Lindsay 
described as battered in and made by the Sisters into an 
Ambulance. Their resources, it was added, were exhausted. 
The Mother, an intelligent German from Munich, received me, 

1870 SEDAN 255 

and we went over the place together. They have now no 
wounded, only sick. Fever, small-pox, etc. The place was 
scarcely touched. The poor nuns had hidden themselves in the 
cellar, like wise women, and they had plenty of everything, 
though at one time they were badly off. Cigars would be 
acceptable, and I sent them 300 out of 's stock. 

From them I proceeded to the French Military Hospital 
authorities, and met there the first really serious Frenchman I 
have seen. A boy wanted to guide me to the battlefield, and 
told me quite cheerfully, ' Mon pere a ete tue.' The women 
seem to feel it more. I could not persuade one of these in 
the omnibus that the Prussians did not use poisoned bullets. 
She would have it so, and the tears came into her eyes when she 
spoke of the frightful night which they had spent when the 
troops were driven into Sedan. 

This officer whom I saw at the French Military Hospital 
interested me much. He seemed thoroughly beaten down by 
their troubles, yet was quite intelligent and responsive, and grate- 
ful for what little one could say or do. From him I heard the 
same story of lack of ' pantalons,' and he showed me the Belgian 
letters, which seemed to pain him a good deal. Lastly I visited 
the Prussian medical folk, and made them the offer of a chateau 
near Arlon, which had been placed at Capt. Brackenbury's dis- 
posal for the Belgians do not refuse the Prussian wounded. 
This offer required a good deal of consideration. The question 
of transport is very difficult, and I am to receive an answer 
to-morrow. You will see that this was a good day's work, for 
each visit involved a good deal of talk and thought. . . . I 
must not forget to say that I prepared an elaborate despatch, and 
contrived to get it sent off by private hands to Capt. Bracken- 
bury, to get it to-morrow, Sunday. 

I walked to Balon, a little village close to Sedan, where Porter 
and his Sisters are. He was out. I saw a doctor with whom he 
lives, a pleasant fellow, quite enchanted with P., and promised, if 
I have time, to dine with them to-morrow. This doctor gave me 
the carbolic acid with directions how to use it. Balon is much 
knocked about by the cannon balls, and there too I fell in with 
the dreadful smell of putrefying human flesh. On the whole, 
I must confess that I am surprised to find how quickly things 
seem to be righting themselves. The towns will not suffer 


much. The Prussians behave themselves, as almost all people of 
all classes tell me, very well pay for everything, ill-use no one, 
do not swagger. There are, of course, stories of this man's corn 
being taken, and that other losing his wine ; and I see that the 
feeling of the nurses and swells is on the French side, but 
I cannot agree with them. The country folk will certainly suffer 
a great deal, but in limited localities. I have not yet seen 
Bazeilles, where I am told the whole place is utterly destroyed, 
nor the battlefield which is still covered with debris of every 
kind. The peasants alone are permitted to pick them up. A 
lot of tourist gents are already on the spot, trying to make 
capital out of everything. The Prussian sentry was refusing 
admission to two regular h-less English snobs, when I went up 
with Miss Pearson to the Ambulance this afternoon. She was 
quite a match for them. They wanted to go through the 
Ambulance and see the wounded, and appealed to her to let 
them in. She told them that they must get an order from 
the ' Commandant.' The doctors appear to be a good set of men 
(English I mean), kind, intelligent, unaffected. 

The difficulty of the situation is that a staff of workers and a 
great depdt of stores are gathered into one place for a time 
they are wanted then the wounded become fewer from death 
and other causes, and there is little or nothing left to be done. 
I fancy that Metz and its vicinity will soon want help ; and then 
will come the Paris work. We know nothing in the way of 
news. . . . No food of any kind, save perhaps bread, can be 
got between meal times, i.e. eleven and six. 

I do not know how Capt. B. will look at my despatch; but 
I have really got a good insight for him into what is wanted 
here, and especially what is not wanted. ... I am so far 
exposed to no danger whatever, except that from evil odours, 
which the carbolic acid neutralises, and so you may tell every one 
who is anxious about me. And that I cannot write more letters, 
for my time is fully taken up. . . . 


SEDAN, Sept. 25th. 

Although I wrote you yesterday I must set to work again 
this evening, and give you my impressions fresh after the work 

1870 ROUND SEDAN 257 

of to-day. I celebrated Holy Communion this morning in Miss 
Pearson's room in the Croix Rouge. The congregation consisted 
of Miss P., a Mrs. Mason, whom I know not, and C. Wood. 
Then we had matins and litany. C. W. breakfasted with me 
at the H6tel de 1'Europe, and I was about to start at ten A.M., 
accompanied by Miss P., on my journey through the villages, 
when R. Porter came in. Of course this delayed me ; we had 
a quarter of an hour's chat and I promised to make my way 
to him this afternoon, but was unable to do so. He is outside 
the town, and the gates are shut at seven. Now for my 
expedition. I made a complete tour round the town, beginning 
with Bazeilles, which is about three miles south, and visiting 
Lamoncelle, Darguy, Givonne, Oily, Floing, and one or two 
besides. This kept me entirely in the district where the great 
battle was fought, and I saw all the remains of its traces. First 
of all, the village of Bazeilles is utterly destroyed. It is a large 
village, 1800 inhabitants, a sort of country-house place of the 
bettermost Sedan folk, and full of woollen workers and farmers. 
These people had fired on the Prussians as they drove the 
French through the village, and every house was deliberately 
fired. It is simply a village of shells of houses, and the road 
is covered with tiles and bricks not many of the people were 
killed, 20 or 30 at the most, which was exaggerated into 300. 
Near this we found ambulances established in a large chateau, 

under the charge of Mrs. C and the Mother Superior of All 

Saints. The former was busy cooking, and a wonderfully 
graceful pretty cook she looked, dressed in a large cook's apron ; 
but not a bit less like the high-born lady. They had forty-eight 
wounded; had three operations, amputations, the day before, 
but were well supplied with everything. Pyaemia, in spite of 
all their care, had set in, and they had lost a good many. The 
chateau belonged to a Comte de Fiennes who lives in the south 
of France ; but no questions are asked in these times, and every- 
thing, to use a slang expression, is ' walked into ' without scruple. 
We then drove on to another large village, La Moncelle, and 
found both Prussians and French in various chateaux. There 
were a good many, 250 or thereabouts, gradually however being 
moved away to Lille and to Belgium. We distributed freely our 
stock of cigars and chocolate, and gave, I think, much satisfac- 
tion. Poor fellows ! they were and this applies universally 



patient and even cheerful. Only in one case, where lock-jaw had 
come on, was there any moaning. Some faces had the hectic 
of fever, some the pallor of death ; but they showed us their 
wounds and the bullets which had been extracted, and chatted 
about their homes. Nothing could be better under the circum- 
stances than the treatment they received. The rooms were 
quite sweet and the beds clean. Generally they had bedsteads, 
sometimes they were on the ground. We questioned the French 
carefully, out of the reach of the Prussian ears, and they all 
had one story that they were well taken care of and wanted 
for nothing, except perhaps sugar in their coffee or matters of 
no great importance. Then, I think, some of them said they 
were left too long without drink. Sometimes we were told by 
our man, a handy fellow whom I have employed since we came 
here, that the French had no bread, and so on; but when we 
came to investigate the matter it invariably turned out to be 
a thorough mistake. However, as I said, the cigars and choco- 
late brought many a smile of pleasure, and I think the money 
was well laid out. We went through pretty nearly the same 
sort of careful visitation in all the spots where wounded were 
to be found. In several places they had all departed, and there 
was no one but the surgeons, French for the most part, and 
very gentlemanly, pleasant men. One of them told us that 
the German terms had been refused. He was to go on to 
Paris without delay. 

The next important place we saw was Floing, close to the 
great cavalry fight in which 20,000 cavalry were engaged. We 
saw there 150 French and Germans, under a very gentlemanly 
German doctor, who gave us coffee, and who, the first of all 
we had visited, specified certain things for which he would be 
very grateful. We had some difficulty in making out 'kettel- 
sage,' but at last I divined it to be a surgical instrument, and 
so it proved to be. I made him write all down, and promised 
to send him from Arlon all that could be got. Ale and porter 
were among his wants strong English, not the light German 
beer. These men are severely wounded, and not likely quickly 
to be removed. We found in a cottage a wounded French 
officer ; his thigh was broken, and I should fear that he was in 
great danger. He was engaged to a lady, to whom he begged 
us to transmit a letter which he wrote in pencil while we were 


there. Alas ! she resides in Paris. How is it to reach her ? 
His host was a baker, an old man who remembered 1815. It 
was nothing, he said, to this. People then behaved well these 
very Prussians but now they pillaged everything. His two 
cows, his fodder, his flour, all his stock-in-trade was carried off 
in Prussian waggons. His wife had much to say on the subject, 
and she brought forward triumphantly her grandson who had 
gained three prizes at school, and had sold them for five francs 
to help the family in their troubles. Notwithstanding all this 
the old couple were cheerful and hospitable, and brought out 
a bottle of wine to do us honour. We clinked glasses and 
drank to better days. He told me that the peasants would 
not have a republic, and spoke kindly of the Emperor; he had 
been deceived by bad ministers; if he had himself commanded 
things would have gone differently; and so on. The weather 
has been very favourable for the wounded bright, without 
being sultry, and there has been little wind. A large proportion 
are recovering, and even men who have lost limbs are rapidly 
being removed. Carbolic acid is freely used. 

As I said before, we passed over every portion of the huge 
battlefield. It was seven and a half miles long, four and a half 
broad. The natural situation most lovely as usual in battle- 
fields ; two long lines of hills, broken, of course, by water 
courses and undulations, face one another, on which the two 
armies had their cannon, and between which the actual fighting 
took place. On the left of the French position is a wooded 
slope, apparently almost impregnable. This it was which the 
Crown Prince of Saxony carried after a desperate struggle, in 
which the superior physique of the Germans told. They drove 
the slight French recruits, as I was told, like sheep before them. 
After this came the cavalry battle in the bottom towards the 
right of the French, in which the Chasseurs d'Afrique were 
borne down by Bismarck's regiment. Either before or after this 
the French cavalry got into a trap. They were regularly 
hemmed in while the tremendous Prussian artillery played upon 
them. The scene was frightful horses and men fell over one 
another, and the poor horses shrieked piteously. All this part 
of the field was trodden to pieces with horse hoofs. The horses 
are buried under mounds, the men in long level pits on which 
roughly-hewn crosses are placed. Even now, after all the work 


of the relic-hunters and the peasants (to whom an exclusive right 
is given, by a decree, of picking up the remains), the ground 
is scattered with knapsacks and shakos, iron cuirasses, and the 
like. My man picked up for me the cartridge box of a mitrail- 
leuse, which I must try to bring home. Except in this particular 
spot there is not much to see. Here and there one saw some- 
thing which betokened soldiers' presence, or the movements of 
artillery ; but I am quite sure that if I had known nothing of 
the history of the time I should have passed by without per- 
ceiving that a bloody battle had been fought. 

One of our party the day before yesterday, in bringing a 
fourgon from Arlon, actually picked up a man who had lain 
in the woods wounded since the battle. He had lost his senses, 
and wildly asked my friend which party had won the victory. 
He picked him up and brought him to Sedan. 

Nothing surprises me more than the rapidity with which 
everything is falling into its natural condition. Except for the 
German soldiers and the Red Cross people, there is nothing to 
betoken the terrible distress of so short a while since. The 
hotel people seem rather distraught, but the crowd of visitors 
is enough to account for that, and lodgings are hard to obtain. 
Tourist gents of all countries are flocking in to roam over the 
battlefield. This will help to put some money into the people's 
pockets. M. de Martagnac, the son of the deputy whom I saw 
this morning in his dressing-gown before I started, and people 
of his rank, are depressed and serious; but the folk generally 
prefer, I really believe, the German to the French soldiers. 
Porter has some terrible experiences to relate of the atrocities 
of the Germans; but it is to be remembered that he is in the 
very heart of the battle-ground, where wounded fell most thickly, 
and where the difficulty of treating them properly was very 
great. I hear that all the English party are ordered to Arlon. 
I am naturally going there to-morrow. My Prussian order 
from the Commandant stands me still in stead, and I have 
ordered a ' voiture a deux chevaux,' which I hope that C. Wood 
will share with me. I go by Florenville, carrying my own 
despatches. . . . 

Arlon, 27th Sept. I arrived here yesterday at six, after, as 
I expected, a charming drive. Part of the journey was over 
the ground of the day before, through Bazeilles, Balon, etc. 


I stopped for a few minutes to see R. P. and his party, and 
left them a bottle of eau de Cologne, much needed, I assure 
you, in these parts. I saw three ambulances under the hills, 
the soldiers were mostly badly-wounded Germans. They were 
well cared for and happy. One of the Sisters has got typhoid. 
The road went right through the battlefield, and I was surprised 
to see so few traces of what had happened ; the beetroot crops 
were uninjured, though the men and guns went right over them. 
Of course there were such things as old knapsacks, a dead horse 
or two, and the little poplars had been cut down by the Germans 
to make sleeping places, a plan which they prefer to the trouble 
of carrying tents. One saw these little huts in lots here and 
there. At one house near Bazeilles when the owner, a peasant, 
did not understand some order, he was shot close to his own 
door. We passed the spot, but the dead were all buried care- 
fully, and there were no sights of horror. The German army 
regularly scraped up the French from the Belgian borders and 
then fell upon them, as I have described. We then arrived at 
Douzy, where Mr. and Mrs. Beauclerk established an English 
ambulance, now broken up. I found there however a good 
many wounded, chiefly Saxons, after the great attack; they 
had those bright, responsive Saxon faces, mostly fair, a few, 
however, dark. There were two ambulances, and I took note 
of what they required. Mrs. Loyd-Lindsay's bottle of chloro- 
form came usefully to hand here. They were out of it, and 
most thankful. Then we drove on through the Ardennes, the 
forest opening out into distant views of lovely atmospheric tints. 
We passed a wonderful pilgrimage place, where the driver 
assured me that miracles were constantly wrought, after con- 
fession and Communion. . . . 


SAARBRUCKEN, Sept. 30, 1870. 

Well, I am ashamed to write this letter, for in fact I have 
done nothing worth my salt since I wrote before. The truth 
is that the work which depended on Arlon is now coming to 
an end. The wounded are in course of speedy removal, and 
the headquarters of the Society are to be removed to this 
place. . . . The lieutenant, or storekeeper, Mr. Bushnan, 


is a very jolly fellow, and received me most kindly. He had 
Captain B.'s room made ready for me, and gave me all informa- 
tion but no work. I must stay here till to-morrow and then I 
am to start off as ' eclaireur,' taking up my quarters at Kemilly, 
some forty miles west of this on the road to Metz. This is 
to be a depot of the Society, and I hope to make it useful 
for the villages round, which are more or less filled with 
wounded. I wrote to you last from Arlon, and gave you an 
account of the stores, etc. It is a strange life, as you may 
suppose, to find oneself in the midst of a set of people whose 
names for the most part I have never heard before, doctors 
young and old, newspaper correspondents, agents of the Society 
of all degrees, young and middle-aged, all very friendly, working 
hard when there is work to do, and at other times idling, 
chatting, etc. On the whole they seem to be a good sort of 
fellows, with plenty of work in them, not very refined, almost, 
I should think, without religion, though quite proper in 
language and far from jeering or mocking, kind and really 
anxious to do their best. . . . From Arlon I had a slow but 
not uninteresting journey. . . . At Conz, a lovely village in 
the valley under the hills from which the Moselle is fed, 
with the broad river flowing under groves of walnuts, there 
was a long wait, nearly four hours. The train had been taken 
off. I walked about therefore with my friend the doctor, and 
heard the same story as Porter tells, that after two or three 
days the bulk of the doctors and others who look after the 
sick grow weary of their work and neglect it. He says that 
it is most trying and wearying, that the only special practice 
which a surgeon learns is how to deal with comminuted fractures, 
and that a good many have been sent out who have neither 
heart nor skill. Of course he excepts men like the American 

Dr. , Dr. Frank, and Dr. MacCormac. He says, and I 

think wisely, that there should be a committee of surgeons to 
pronounce on a man's capabilities, and that those sent out 
should not be paid in advance, but by the head surgeon at 
the end of each week's work. This tallies with reason and 
experience. From Conz to Saarbriicken is six hours nearly. 
The road along the valley of the Saar is very beautiful, and 
the atmosphere as before was exquisite in lights, quite sparkling 
and effervescent. In fact, the weather has been most fortunate 


for the poor and wounded. Saarbriicken you remember, not 
however in its present stirring condition, but as a stupid 
sleepy German third-class country town, paved roughly, and 
inhabited by a rough set of folks, also a longish distance 
from its huge ugly station. It is not asleep now, but all alive 
with Johanniter and endless soldiers, an 'e"tappe commandant/ 
'gewiinclete' carried through the streets, etc. The hotel at 
which I dined last night was crowded, no room to be had 
there. I had an introduction to one ' Wassenborn ' next door, but 
a baroness had 'bestellt' the room. Madame kindly sent me 
with her girl to her sister named Philippi, whose husband keeps 
a restauration chiefly in beer and tobacco, and I engaged a room 
looking very like bugs. My friend here, Mr. Bushnan, relieved 
me of this, and sent for my luggage and established me here 
where I am. . . . The railway authorities have lent a large 
piece of land near the station, on which a builder of the town 
has undertaken to erect a large shed to receive the stores without 
delay. Fourgons are to arrive at once from Arlon, and here 
are to be the new headquarters, from which Remilly, a branch 
depot, and other places will be supplied. I expect to find things 
very rough at Remilly, and still more in its vicinity. . . . 
The room in which I am writing is exactly opposite the heights 
on which the French guns were posted ; a chassep6t bullet 
pierced its shutter and made a mark on a piece of furniture. 
There it is to tell the tale. When I have finished this I am 
going to walk round the French position. News came yesterday, 
'affiched' at the railway station, of the capitulation of Strass- 
burg. I wish that Metz would do the same, but on the con- 
trary the Prussians lost a good many from a sortie, both killed 
and taken prisoners, and a lot of wounded came into this town. 
The French took eight waggons filled with provisions. In con- 
sequence it is considered that the villages round Metz are likely 
to treat ill any whom they may recognise as strangers, and this 
makes my good friend Bushnan a little anxious about letting 
me go. I have no anxiety myself about it, and only, as you 
may suppose, grumble at being idle. It certainly was most 
unfortunate that I missed having the charge of the All Saints 
Sisters. That was exactly my work. Then one could have 
chatted with and read to the poor wounded men all day long, 
whereas now I have to wait for jobs. I feel as if I had no 


right to be, as it were, enjoying myself and " seeing life " while 
my brethren are doing the parish work. However I am quite 
sure that it is not my fault, nor, as far as I can see, the fault 
of any one. I am come just at the end of one set of things 
and the beginning of another. I expect that Miss Goodman 
will have the command of a hospital here which is to be given 
over to us by the . Dutch and Belgians, and then I shall be more 
in my element, unless indeed, I am at Remilly. ... I am 
longing to hear from you again, especially as you may suppose 
I want a full account of Sunday. Michaelmas Day was spent 
by me mostly in travelling, but I find a little sermon here in 
my bedroom in a picture of an angel carrying a child, a photo- 
graph set in needlework, with the inscription, "Habe Acht auf 
deinen Engel und hore seine Stimme." 


HOTEL GUEPRATTE, Oct. 1, 1870. 

. . . Things move on so rapidly that it is hard even after 
only one day to remember just where I left off. Anyhow, I 
had brought myself to Saarbriicken. It seemed as if there was 
nothing for me to do here at present, for the ' fourgons ' had 
not arrived, and until then we could only sit still, or make 
arrangements for their reception. They had left Arlon on 
Wednesday, only sixty miles distant, and we wondered what 
could have hindered them. Of this more anon. Mr. Bushnan 
recommended me to hunt up the field of Saarbriicken, where 
the French suffered their first defeat, and Spicheren, where 
they were completely driven back. This according I did. The 
river Saar, swift and deep, winds through the meadows, now 
being mown, full of herbage and wild flowers ; and so far as I 
could find there is no ferry or bridge except here, where the two 
bridges give the name to the town. The speciality of the Saar 
seems to be its power of naming places. Besides Saarbriicken, 
there is Saarlouis, Saarguemines, Saarables, Saarbouy, and many 
more. You remember the position of Saarbriicken, in a valley 
between two ranges of hills. The Prussian frontier extends 
irregularly beyond the Saar. Saarbriicken itself is not more 
than two miles from the French frontier. Spicheren actually 
is within it. I mounted, therefore, the ridge which is W. of 


the Saar, and soon found myself among the traces of a battle- 
field. There soldiers were wandering about, one of whom, a 
" Krankentrager," joined himself to me, and lionised me every- 
where for a couple of hours. From him I got hold of the whole 
idea of the battle. The French posted their cannon first immedi- 
ately over Saarbriicken, i.e. a quarter of a mile a top of it (you 
remember that the river divides it from. St. Johann), the 
Prussians theirs on the heights over St. Johann. When the 
French first approached and had their guns in position, there 
were only 500 Prussians in the place. The French delayed 
the attack for three days, in which time all the troops that 
could be collected from Baden, Wurtemberg, etc., and Prussia 
itself, came down by the railroad, for strange to say, though 
the French bombarded the railway station, not however 
damaging it, they did not do the obviously reasonable thing, 
viz. to cut the line. When the Germans had strength enough 
they on their part attacked the French, and drove them back 
over a riant valley, broad and well cropped, in the midst 
of heavy rain, to a tremendously strong position, half a mile 
in the rear. It is on the top of a very steep hiD, a grind 
even for me, with one rough 'pave' or 'chaussee,' and a couple 
of watercourses. Eight horses were required for each cannon 
to tug them up the hill. This hill was roughly escarped, and 
all along the ridge a little ditch was cut, in which the French 
riflemen were sheltered as they fired on the Prussians who 
climbed up the sides. At the top is a wood, another great 
advantage to the French, who found their shelter behind the 
trees. Four times they drove back the Prussians but the fifth 
charge settled them. Of course efforts were made, not in front 
only but round the sides, and it was one of these side attacks 
which at length succeeded. I suppose that it would be im- 
possible for any army to drive out such soldiers as the French, 
so strongly intrenched, with only a front attack. Then in two 
hours the whole of the Prussian artillery, 300 pieces, were 
dragged down and up, and the French defeat was complete. 
I believe that more French than Germans were engaged, 100,000 
to 180,000, but of this I am not sure. The view from the 
Spicheren heights is most lovely, over the valley, the town, 
and the river to the heights on the other side. The battle- 
field has more relics of the tight than I saw at Sedan. My friend 


the soldier picked up one thing after another, and said simply 
" Deutsch, Franzosisch," and then threw it away. I have become 
quite learned in cartridges. The German had paper, the French 
cardboard boxes; also the French use long 'meches/ the 
German short, etc. There were little boxes full still of grease 
for boots, knapsacks, innumerable cartridge boxes, leather belts, 
tin cooking pots, tin tubes which they stick on wooden handles 
when they want to roast anything, and thrust them into the 
fire, braces, bits of letters, newspaper fragments, cooking 
places, flasks of leather, all sorts of debris. The trees were 
splintered and cut to pieces. Here and there a bullet was 
visible still sticking in the trees. It was a strange feeling to 
wander in the little thicket filled with such speaking relics, 
and think what was going on there so few weeks since the 
anxiety, and the fierce passions, the disappointment, and the 
joy of victory. As I said, it was steep climbing even for me, 
unencumbered as I was, and without an enemy firing down 
upon me. One may imagine what it cost the Germans. The 
field is dotted about with burying places, here 30, there 
perhaps 47, and so on. Near the town there is a large grave 
where 374 lie together, among them an uncle and nephew, one 
a general, the other in the Grenadier Guards, name Von Francois. 
This large grave has a good number of crosses upon it. Those 
in the fields are merely mounds hedged round with the dry 
bushes which the Prussians had previously cut down for their 
bivouac or, as they say bivac. On the descent which leads 
to the village about half-way down there is a pretty knoll 
of trees with a Crucifix not the least injured by the bullets. 
There was something there to make one meditate mourn- 

The poor horses were all carted together to a long grave 
near to the town. My friendly soldier brought me back 
safely into the town, after having cut out two or three 
bullets from the trees that I might carry them home as relics. 
I picked up two or three more things which I thought the 
children might care to have. I might have filled a waggon 
if I had cared to do so. ... Now, I believe, I shall have 
some regular work. I am to be general store-keeper, account 
keeper, over-looking kitchen arrangements, etc. One of the 
London military commissionaires, of whom we have four, is 


to be my man. Dr. , a German doctor of much 

experience who has been for years resident in London, and 
is practically an Englishman ; a very pleasing, though rough 
and ugly Scotch Episcopalian from Aberdeen; a couple more 

doctors, Miss , and some Sisters, will form our staff. . . . 

Remilly, about forty miles hence, is a nasty place. There 
are two Englishmen just arrived, very ill with dysentery, 
from R. The account they give of the place is sickening. 
It is the main depot for the villages round, which are crammed 
with sick and wounded from Metz. We are going to establish a 
depot there also. The difficulties of getting to work are really 
very great (1) There is the jealousy of the Johanniter, 
which now seems fairly removed; (2) the ignorance of the 
German authorities as to the nature of the English work; 
(3) the difficulty of carrying the bulky stores from place to 
place. The trains are uncertain. Long ' convois ' of provisions, 
etc., are always arriving for military objects, and the passenger 
trains have to wait for them. Horses are very dear and 
hard to get, and apt to break down when you have got them. 
The younger Bushnan started from Arlon on Wednesday 
evening with seven fourgons. I was to have gone with them, 
but Mr. Capel strongly advised me to go by train. It was 
most fortunate that I did so, for only this morning (Saturday) 
did they come into Saarbrucken, having taken seventy hours 
to haul sixty miles. One horse was paralysed three others 
came to grief a man from whom they had hired horses stopped 
in the middle of the road, refusing to go further, and demanded 
to be paid for the whole journey. When they refused to 
pay, he tried to take their harness, then brought a body 
of peasants to attack them. They were literally forced to 
fight with their fists, i.e. the drivers, Bushnan, an English 
groom on one side, and the peasants on the other. The peasants 
outnumbered them, and took various of their things. And 
finally entering Saarbrucken the soldiers stopped them, would 
not believe they were not French, took all their hay and 
straw, wanted to steal their wine, and not without bribes 
permitted them to proceed. The fact is, we are in a false 
position. We are not understood. We are, as it were, forcing 
our benevolences on people who return our kindness by thinking 
us officious or fools or interested. It will be some time before 


things go straight. Meanwhile there is nothing for it but 
patience and good temper. . . . 


SAARBB.UCKEX, Oct. 3, 1870. 

... I wrote a long letter on Saturday, giving you while I had 
it fresh in my mind the history of that first battle which practi- 
cally settled the whole matter of the war. Since then I have 
heard various details. It seems that the Germans, though only 
500 men appeared in Saarbriicken, had filled the woods with 
soldiers who were ready to pounce on the French if they had 
attempted to advance. It does not appear, however, that the 
French knew this. The French occupied the railway station, and 
did not cut the line, because they meant to use it to enter 
Germany. This turned out very badly for them. 

This place is full of English a motley lot an odd ' galere ' 
indeed for me to find myself in. Various newspaper correspond- 
ents, regular old hands, who have been for similar tours in the 
Crimea, America, etc., describers of Atlantic cables, Great Exhibi- 
tions, and opening of isthmus canals; philanthropists, employes 
of the English Society of all ranks, down to four commissionaires 
with green uniform and medals not the least respectable of our 
party a couple of doctors, and now Sisters of mercy. We are 
all good friends together. . . . Last Friday, as I told you, I had 
not enough to do, and had almost made up my mind to return 
home this week. Now I seem to have a prospect of real useful- 
ness and I shall of course stay longer. It came about in a funny 
way. There is a Scotch doctor a demonstrator of anatomy at 
Aberdeen a clever fellow, and, as I accidentally found out, an 
Episcopalian. We soon made friends together, and he rejoiced in 
coming to my Celebration on Sunday morning, in spite of the 
much chaffing of . When I told him my intention of return- 
ing, he said that I should be most helpful if I would take charge 
of the stores and medicines in the ' Lazareth,' which we are about 
to occupy in force. It seems that there is always a prejudice 
against doctors taking this office. . . . While I was considering 

this, I found to my surprise and gratification that and the 

commissionaires would be grateful for a short service on each 
Sunday morning, and I believe that several of the English con- 


nected with the Society as clerks and the like would also come. 
This would make a tidy congregation. Then to complete all and 

to my great surprise, yesterday evening at 5 P.M. the Sisters 

with Mrs. - arrived from Sedan, or rather Balon, where they 
had been at work. That work is nearly ended. They were 
delighted when we met in the thronged hotel passage, having 
given themselves up as ' gone coons ' when they left Balon and 
the ministrations of R.P. The difficulty at present is to get them 
lodged and fed, and also to set them to work in the hospital, 
which is now nursed by Sisters who, though certainly not enough 
in numbers, have done their work splendidly. I believe that 
nothing could have been better managed than this hospital one 
of many in the town which we are now going to take into our 
hands. The two doctors there, a German from Ems and a 
Dutchman under the Dutch Society for the wounded, have 
shown great skill and had singular success. It will not do for 
us to make any mistakes, nor could we dispense with the Sisters 
who are there at work. You cannot imagine the thin-skinnedness 
of the doctors and sick-helpers. I have learnt a good deal 
about the Germans since I have been here their great cere- 
moniousness, their more than self-respect, their immense pride. 
There is a touch of the Scotch nature in them. Go to work the 
right way and they will do anything for you; but tread on their 
toes, and you had better pack up and go home at once. So 
that the getting into the hospital is a ticklish business. 

Tuesday. Since I wrote the above I have again visited the 

field of Spicheren with two of the Sisters and Mrs. . . . . 

We had another beautiful day, and we wandered through the 
woods tinged with autumn colouring, quiet and peaceful, still 
filled with the remains of that deadly struggle. Some men 
were removing a body or filling in a grave after its removal. 
One of them took out of his pocket a handful of bullets of 
all sizes and a Prussian eagle off an uniform. I gave him a 
franc, and distributed them among the Sisters, who were col- 
lecting relics to show their school children in London. But 
the odour of decaying flesh still hung about them, and it was 
almost impossible to wash it away. We went on to the Crucifix 
which overlooks the village, and knelt down together and offered 
some prayers. Poor Spicheren ! it is a little dirty, roughly 
paved French village, with however a hostelry where I got 


some good wine. How the country folk must have been sur- 
prised by the rush of those two great armies ! The two nations 
were afraid to accept one another's courtesy. Each thought 
that the other had poisoned their food. . . . To-morrow I 
shall be in the Hospital, there to live while I stay here. . . . 


X CASERNE, Oct. 6, 1870. 

. . . Here, I assure you, my work is well cut out, and unless 
I am forced by your next letter to return to my proper and 
natural duties, I feel that I ought not to leave my post. I 
entered, yesterday, fairly into work. I have the charge of all the 
eatables and drinkables, all the 'comforts,' so to call them, of this 
hospital. I apply for what is wanted to Mr. Bushnan, and I 
give out things on the doctor's requisition. I keep regular 
debit and credit accounts, not of money but of things (JVaareri), 
and I spend my day among my stores. Beyond this I visit 
the sick and wounded, chat a little with them, bring them 
cigars to cheer them, etc., etc.; and further I have services for 
the Sisters, and have arranged with the greater part of the 
English folk here, who are tolerably numerous, to have a 
service on Sundays. It took some days to put all this straight, 
but now there is, I think, no more difficulty, and it seems 
provoking to use such a word to have to leave it. You 
can scarcely imagine the difficulty of getting anything done 
above all in my line. You must remember that I am in a 
position entirely new to me. First of all I am a subordinate 
and not a principal. Not as at home ' monarch of all I survey,' 
but forced to be most particular not even to seem to assert 
the very least authority of any kind whatsoever. If I were to 
take up the slightest bit of ground not my own, there would 
be instant confusion, and in some or other way I should be 
snubbed. Then I have to deal with a very strange set of 
people, quite other than any who have hitherto fallen in my 

. . . Then there are four commissionaires, good honest 
fellows, who . . . were really unhappy because they had no 
service last Sunday; then the whole throng of 'freiwillige 
Kranken-pfleger ' . . . some gentlemen, others clerks and couriers, 


then hangers-on like or , then the correspondents of 

the papers. . . . Two or three Germans hook on to us at dinner. 
You may imagine what a strange life it is, and how much self- 
control it requires to hold one's own and keep on good friendly 
terms with them all. . . . All this, as you may suppose, is not 
to my taste, though it is not bad practice for my temper and 

. . . We breakfast at 7.30. At 8.30 we go to the hospital, 
which is only five minutes off. There Dr. Rodger and I remain. 
I have a room on the ground floor just at the entrance, for- 
merly an officer's room, hung round with battle pictures, and 
within it a smaller room, fitted up roughly with shelves. 

The Dutch were here before us, and they have left us some of 
their stores. Our stores come in by degrees, and I stow them 
away with the help of one of the commissionaires, a good 
fellow enough Irish, named Connell. He thinks poorly of the 
foreigners and their ways, and compares the somewhat slipshod 
arrangements of this suddenly-created hospital with the order 
and discipline of a regular English one. Then all the morning 
the German Sisters come in for cushions, bandages, brandy, etc. 
We lost one poor fellow yesterday from secondary haemorrhage, 
after an amputation performed by the Dutch doctors before they 
left the place. At the moment we had no brandy in store. I 
rushed out and bought some in two minutes, but it was too late. 
He died. 

A sentry with bright steel bayonet and gun barrel marches up 
and down before my window. Nevertheless a good many stray 
visitors flock in, and as I come first, it falls to my lot to entertain 
them. A Dutch prediger rejoicing in the name of Cohen Stuart 
paid me a long visit this morning. 

I got hold of a couple of strong lasses and made them dust 
and wash these two rooms, and clear out the heap of useless 
rubbish furniture and old stores which littered the floor, and 
I am now fairly tidy. But the hospital itself is in a bad 
condition and the doctor is sadly afraid that pyaemia may set 
in. The people whom he employed to whitewash crawl about 
and get nothing done. The stores are very slow in coming in. 
I feel, if only I had a week of command, that I could put the 
whole thing into real trim and by degrees, as far as the stores 
are concerned, I am getting pretty much my own way, and 


setting them to rights. But of course my present ignorance 
of what is necessary stands in my way, and I find out only 
by degrees the need of this or that. ... As I told you, I 
do not care one straw where I am posted, I want only to be 
of use to those who are suffering in this hideous war, with 
the 'arriere penseV of helping the English folks to keep religion 
within their souls. ... I found a fine well built man to-day, 
a French officer, who is suffering terribly from a wound in foot. 
He has been two months in bed. I took him a great pot of 
calf's-foot jelly. He has a German Sister to nurse him, and 
neither can speak a word of the other's language. Our Eng- 
lish Sisters all speak French, but the fear of exciting jealousy 
is such that we do not dare to give the work of nursing him 
to them. 

You will be glad to hear that the best beer in Saarbriicken 
is sold just across the road. I have lodged the Sisters in the 
Restauration where it is to be found. ... I am surrounded 
by carbolic acid and chloride of lime, and the smell of them, 
fortunately healthy, is never out of my nose. 

4.15. I have just returned from visiting my friend the 
French officer. His wife is with him, very lady-like and 
pleasant. He was ten years at Saumur in the Cavalry barracks, 
and we had a joke about the windmills. He knows all the 
Loire country and ('comme on se retrouve') our old friend, 

M. . I took him a handful of cigars. They both agreed 

that the war was causeless and unjust. . . . 


UHLANEN CASERNE, Oct. 7, 1870. 

. . . Another day has nearly passed of this new and 
strange life of mine. There is not much variety, yet some- 
how or other it is not devoid of a certain kind of interest. 
Very gradually I am beginning to make acquaintance with the 

wounded. I was afraid to put myself forward at first, for 

is inclined to be snappish, and I do not want to be in the 
wrong. Of course I have no absolute right to be anywhere 
but in my pantry. The hospital is a huge barrack, full of 
rooms of all sizes. Some have eight beds, others one only. 


The officers are, as far as possible, placed in single rooms, 
and I have made acquaintance with them one, M. le Capitaine 
Sacquet, of whom I spoke to you yesterday whose wife, a 
very pleasing woman, looks after him, and two others, one from 
'les Basses Pyrenees,' the other my friend from Rennes, quite 
a young fellow, sous-lieutenant. The B. P. officer had three 
brothers in the Crimea one lost his leg. ... I ventured 
to visit them all (men) to-day, and fine fellows they were, 
very courteous and manly. They seem pleased to see me, 
and I shall now try to visit them daily. . . . Did I mention 
to you that we have 70 patients and probably soon 120 will 
be here. To-day has been a very serious day. Several 
operations were performed, and the doctors were very anxious. 
However, D.G., so far all has gone well. And now the 
white-washing is going on in good earnest. Also stores are 
coming in. Yet no port wine has been sent, and our 
telegraph to England has not been responded to. The hitch 
is with those wretched Luxemburgers, who are a bad, selfish lot. 
I am very sorry that we have guaranteed their neutrality. 
Everything goes on well through Belgium and through Prussia. 
But the railway necessarily passes through Luxemburg, and 
they keep the goods at the custom houses, though the packages 
are all duly marked with Red Cross. My stores consist of 
linen of all sorts, beer, wine, brandy, jelly, olive oil, extracts 
of meat, refreshing drinks, filters, slop-pails, linseed meal, 
candles, soap, etc., etc. By the help of my Commissioner 
Connell all is in capital order. I have a note book in which 
I write down all that comes in and goes out. E.g. knock 
comes. "Herein." A gentle-voiced German Sister appears. 
" Caplan, der Doctor hat mich geschickt zu fragen ob Sie 
haben," this or that. To which I generally reply, " Meine 
Schwester, wir werden sehen." Probably Cognac is the object 
of her search. " Schwester, haben Sie Ihren Propfenzieher 1 " 
She always has it ready in her pocket, and I make a joke 
about its being her "Breviar," at which she laughs heartily and 
carries off her prize. Then perhaps Mrs. - comes in, looking 
worn out and pale. She wants pillows, sheets, soap, candles, red 
wine, also begs for a slop-pail. I produce the articles, open a 
bottle of beer, pull out my private stock of biscuits, and persuade 
her to take something. Our worst want now is candlesticks. 



The town is bi'osiered, and we must wait till some can be made. 
A bottle with a candle stuck in it is our only resource. . . . 

I cannot help smiling sometimes at myself and my work, 
yet really I think that there is some satisfaction in finding that I 
can do what I am told to do. Sometimes I have feared that 
my masterful nature had no humility in it. But I am nearly 
sure that want of humility is not my special fault. 

You cannot imagine the loveliness of the weather or the beauty 
of the situation of Saarbriicken. Each night the bright moon 
shines out of the bluest of skies, and is reflected in the Saar. 
In the morning it is coolish, and rather dull for an hour or so. 
Then the sun comes out, and the day is clear and warm, not hot. 

. . . You would be amused at our hotel dinner at seven. . . . 
The room which is small is crammed with Johanniter in their 
splendid uniform, with Maltese cross on their breast and em- 
broidered on their coat, Prussian officers, sometimes a French 
officer on parole, English waifs and strays, occasionally dis- 
tinguished men whom we gradually get to know, as Capt. Hozier 
who is sent out by Government to Prussian headquarters. 
There is, as you may suppose, a mighty jabber. Dr. Rodger, 
my Scotch friend, and I, retire in good time, but the rest of the 
party keep the ball going till a latish hour. . . . 

I am in some difficulty about Sunday. They all profess 
to wish for a service, and I have made up my mind when and 
how to have it, i.e. in our sitting room for matins, when the 
doctor has cleared out, and H.C. in the Sisters' room at seven or 

. . . But whether they will come to matins indeed whether 
without a real effort they can come is another question. You 
see in what a quaint position I am. Every one is very civil I 
mean of the English folk but I feel that, with the best in- 
tentions on both sides, our lines of thought and objects are as 
different as possible, and I dread boring them. . . . (Enter 

Mrs. , "0 Mr. Butler I am so glad that you are still here. 

Have you any extract of meat ? " " Alas ! no, none has been 
sent ! " " What shall I do ? One of my poor patients is very 
weak, etc., etc." Then I remember my private stock, and rush 
off and fetch my flesh pot. " Thank you, doctor," she replies, 
" I am much obliged.") 

Until to-day I have had no chair in which to sit, simply a 


four-legged backless stool. I could stand it no longer, and went 
out and bought myself a cane chair for 7fr. It is to be Connell's 
perquisite when I go. You would laugh to see the said Connell 
with the German soldiers and other folk. He talks to them in 
simple plain Hibernian English, despises them for their ignorance, 
considers them all to be a pack of rogues, though I suppose 
honester people could scarcely be found, and never for a moment 
has his eyes off the plunder, unless I am there to guard it. He 
is a capital fellow, and shrinks from no amount of work. He 
lives in the Hospital and receives his 'rations.' This morning 
they doled him out a basin of coffee, as he said, as if he was a 
beggarman. There was some nasty stuff at bottom. I sent for 
* Herr Inspector' and we soon had an [? explanation] the result of 
which was such a dinner as Connell had never put into his stomach 
before, finishing up, as he expressed it, with jam for dessert. 


UHLANEN CASERNE, Oct. 9, 1870. 

Your letter of yesterday reached me at dinner time, and you 
may suppose I had not much appetite after reading it. I care- 
fully considered wakeful as I am for half the night what 
must be my duty ; and I trust that the telegraphic message 
which I despatched will make you easy as to my speedy return. 
I saw that I could not be in England for Sunday, and therefore 
I thought it best to give a service here, and a Celebration to 
the Sisters, and then to start to-morrow, Sunday evening. . . . 
I am just becoming intimate with the French officers, such 
good pleasant men as they are ! Poor Captain Sacquet and 
his wife told me all their troubles to-day, how he had lost 
everything, dquipement, property, etc., how terribly expensive 
his journeys had been, and what it would still cost to make 
his way to Valenciennes. I prevailed on him 'en titre d'un 
pret' to accept 100 francs, and I never felt happier than 
when I put it into his hands. We had much talk about the 
battle of Spicheren. His vis-a-vis told me how he happened 
to be wounded. He and seven other officers, finding the 
ammunition running short, and perceiving the importance of 
holding a certain point for a time, took muskets and went 
round for all the cartridges they could find. Then they lay 


on the ground and fired at the advancing Prussians. One of 
his brother officers exhausted his stock of cartridges and then 
rested his head on his hand. This was enough for the Prussian 
riflemen. A ball broke his arm and ran round into his chest. 
My friend raised himself to pick up his wounded comrade and 
was hit on the thigh. He is the man from Beam; name, Hittos. 
We exchanged cards, etc. 1 

To-day is our first day of rain. It is however very warm, 
though not sultry. We are now beginning to get things into 
order, and I really believe that in a few more days I should 
find a great deal of interesting work. As it is, I am kept hard 
at my stores all day, and you would be amused at my new 
habits of business and regularity. You must not imagine that 
I had the least idea of doing nothing except store-keeping. 
I only meant it to be a pied-ct-terre, and, in fact, in a few 
days I have no doubt that I should have had the offer of some 

really important post. Touching , and the difference 

between him and me, the real fact is that he has had so much 
more detail work than I, and his accounts of the men's suffer- 
ings are likely to be right enough. I only described what 
I actually saw in my rapid walks through the various hospitals. 
Here of course it is otherwise, and here I am in a position 
to appreciate more closely what the results of wounds are. 
Nevertheless I still maintain and the doctors corroborate my 
views that there is not, on the whole, as much suffering as 
might be expected. The men are wounded when mostly in a 
strong and healthy condition, and better able to endure. And 
one of our English nurses told me that in hospitals in London 
the people in surgical wards are more cheerful than those in 

We sent off six fourgons full of food and medicine to Remilly 
this morning, and we expect an immense supply immediately 
from Ostend. Oh dear, I shall have to cross by that way, the 
Calais boats have at length come to an end. People are very 
kind and express all sorts of regrets at my departure, especially 
my ' orderly ' Connell, to whom I have bequeathed my chair. 

lr The friendship with Captain Sacquet was kept up by letter for 
many years, and in 1874 a visit was paid to Bourbonne-les-Bains, 
where the Captain was trying, not very successfully, to get his 
wound thoroughly cured. 



WANTAGE VICARAGE, Oct. 29, 1870. 

. . . You heard perhaps that I had been in France and 
Germany lending a very feeble hand to help a little in the 
hospitals, etc., near Sedan and at Saarbriicken. I was called back, 
to my great regret, by the dangerous illness of Weaver. 1 He 
is, D.G., quite recovering. I saw, however, enough to realise 
more than otherwise would have been possible of the sorrow 
and suffering which spring from war, and to be converted into 
an upholder of peace at almost any price. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Nov 16 [1870]. 

. . . Imagine a telegram at 2 P.M. yesterday from Colonel 
Loyd Lindsay to your father with an urgent request for him 
to go out to Germany and look after the wants of the 300,000 
French prisoners of war there, followed up this morning by a 
long letter with many most interesting enclosures from German 
people (of highest class) praying the Society to help at once 
to keep these unhappy men and officers from perishing by cold 
and want. The Government act most liberally, but they can- 
not get beyond what are called necessaries of life in the way 
of food, nor give clothes and comforts and help in sickness. 
The Queen of Prussia is most anxious in the matter, and one 
of the letters was in fact written at her desire. But it is as 
much as her place is worth to let Bismarck know of her ask- 
ing English to help French. He hates us. So don't betray 
Her Majesty! Last night the thing seemed impossible, and 
your father wrote a line to CoL Lindsay to that effect; 
specially till after Confirmation this day three weeks. But the 
letters were fearfully constraining. Colonel Lindsay would go 
himself (as organiser, etc.), but that he cannot be spared from 
the work at home. He pitches upon your father as the man 
for the case. As he justly says, " A man may live a long life 
and never have such a chance again of serving his fellow 
creatures." . . . 

However, the parochial difficulties were found to 
be insurmountable, and with deepest regret on the 
Vicar's part, he declined the post. 

1 His senior Curate. 


THE year 1872 witnessed the first break in his 
parochial life. Up to this time he had been 
singularly free from serious illness, and although 
leading a life of constant hard work and rigid self- 
denial, he had never as yet broken down. But 
there were not wanting symptoms of a change, and 
those who watched him knew that his constitution, 
however hardy and vigorous it might be, could not 
stand the long-continued strain with impunity. He 
was undoubtedly on the brink of an illness when 
an accident abruptly put a stop to his work. On 
the 24th July he was thrown out of his pony carriage 
in Wantage, and received a serious injury to the 
spine, the effects of which he felt to the end of 
his life. He had to lie on his back for six months, 
and the doctors afterwards said that this enforced 
rest was probably, humanly speaking, the saving 
of his life, or at least the means of averting a com- 
plete break-down of the nervous system. The fol- 
lowing letter, written by him from his sick-bed, is 
eminently characteristic : 



SIR, In your account of the accident which befell me on 
Wednesday last I am said "to have jumped, or been thrown 
out" of the carriage in which I was. Permit me to say I was 
thrown out, and on no consideration would I have jumped out ; 
and, lying here helpless, I am glad to have the opportunity of 
doing good to my fellow-creatures by pointing to my own case 
as an advantage of the former course. At the place where I 
fell, a few pounds more impetus, just that which a spring would 
have given, would have rendered my injuries very serious, if 
not fatal ; whereas now, by proper care, and I need not add, 
by the mercy of God, I trust in no very long time to be able 
to return to my duties with " mens sana in corpore sano." 

WANTAGE VICARAGE, July 27th, 1872. 

A little later lie was moved to Brighton, and 
thence wrote : 

W. J. B. TO MRS. WlLKINS. 1 

LEE HOUSE, BRIGHTON, Oct. 16, 1872. 

MY DEAR CAROLINE, If loving words could mend one's 
bones, I ought, after your kind and welcome letter of this 
morning, to be quite strong and well. It gave me great 
pleasure to read it, and to hear about James, and the children, 
and yourself, and the parish generally. 

You want to know how I am and what I can do. I am very 
much better in my general health, but my back is not right. 
The doctor here has discovered that one of the joints of the 
spine is forced, by the violence of the blow which I received 
from the back of the carriage, slightly out of its place. This 
is the cause of my not improving; and unless it can be put 
right the consequences will be serious. He speaks however 
very confidently of curing me in about three months. Mean- 
while I have to lie on a board from morning till night, and I 
assure you that I am becoming quite used to it. You know 
that I always was a lazy man, and now I can indulge myself. 

l The daughter and wife of Wantage tradesmen, who had been 
brought up under the Vicar's teaching, and for whom he always 
felt a warm friendship. 


I get up to breakfast with Mrs. Butler, take a quarter of an 
hour's walk in the garden, lie on my board till luncheon time, 
and then have a drive for a couple of hours (generally along 
the cliff by the seaside), then to my board again. I am never 
allowed to sit, except at meals ; and thus I have to hold this 
paper on which I write over my head, and write up instead of 
down, which is rather tiring work. . . . Now, I think, I 
have told you all. I need not say to you how much you are 
all in my thoughts and prayers. I am not sorry to be obliged 
to [remember?] that all real good work is the work of God 
Himself, though He makes use in His wisdom of poor weak 
sinful men like me, and He can and will carry it on (now that 
I am disabled) by His own almighty power. I am most thankful 
to have such good [accounts?] of everything. . . . Your 
faithful friend and pastor, WILLIAM BUTLER. 

He returned to Wantage on January 24th, 1873, 
and gradually resumed the full swing of work, 
though he felt more and more that the burden of 
the parish was overtaxing his strength ; and he 
foresaw that a time was coming when it must be 
laid down. Yet the " Parish Journal " shows no signs 
of abated vigour or weakened interest. The classes, 
the close inspection of the school, the assiduous 
visiting of the parishioners, all went on as in the 
years before the accident ; while the growth of the 
Sisterhood brought with it greatly increased work 
for its founder and guide. 


WANTAGE VICAKAGE, May 17, 1873. 

In the stupidity of my nature I had not perceived that the 
Sunday on which you kindly wish me to preach at St. Paul's 
is the last Sunday in Advent. Would it be possible to commute 
it? The second or third Sunday would suit me very well. 
But I do not like, if it can be avoided, to omit my annual 


shout at the people here about keeping Christmas rightly. 
Our folk need continued prodding to keep them up to the 
mark. I have read the debate in Convocation on confession, 
and I think that it might have been worse. The article in 
the Times is characteristically unfair, and does not honestly 
represent what took place. As for stopping the use of con- 
fession, that is impossible. It is now, like Christianity in 
the early days, in the forum and everywhere, and sooner or 
later, the bishops will be forced to admit this. . . . When 

people like and go to confession, practically the game is 

won. . . . 

Bishop Mackarness had made him an Honorary 
Canon of Christ Church in 1872, a preferment which 
he valued very highly, and on 21st February, 1874, 
he received the first public token of the appreciation 
with which he was regarded by the clergy of the 
diocese. He was elected Proctor in Convocation. 
When asked if he would stand, he stipulated that 
he should not have personally to canvass any of his 
clerical brethren. The Rev. W. G. Sawyer, Vicar of 
Taplow, has given an account of the circumstances 
of the election : 

It may be interesting to record the circumstances under 
which the Vicar, as we always loved to call him, was elected 
as Proctor to Convocation for the diocese of Oxford. His 
election was a cause of much pleasure to him, for two reasons, 
viz., because it opened out to him a new field of usefulness, 
and also because election to Convocation is the only public 
way in which the clergy of a diocese can show their regard 
for one of their number. It having been announced that Dr. 
Leighton, Warden of All Souls, did not intend to offer himself 
for re-election as Proctor, the Rev. Edward Elton, then vicar 
of Wheatley, now rector of Sherington, wrote to me as an 
old Wantage curate, asking what I thought about Butler being 
put forward as a candidate for the vacant Proctorship. " This 
step Mr. Elton took, not as being an intimate friend of the 


Vicar of Wantage, but under a deep and pressing sense of 
the work he was doing at Wantage." (These are Mr. Elton's 
own words.) The idea pleased me very much, and I felt that 
if we could elect Butler it would show our appreciation of 
what he had done, and that it would be a great gain to the 
diocese. Mr. Elton and I talked the matter over, and it was 
agreed between us that I should write to a number of repre- 
sentative men in different parts of the diocese, asking whether 
they would be disposed to support the Vicar of Wantage if 
he was proposed. It was fully recognised from the first that 
he would not be elected without a contest ; for there still 
existed at that time, what now seems to us so strange, the 
idea that Butler was a man of extreme opinions, and that 
notwithstanding his great work at Wantage which those who 
looked at it from the outside could not understand he was 
not to be trusted as an English Churchman. This is a very 
curious fact. We soon found that if he was proposed, he 
would be largely supported. Meeting Bishop Mackarness I 
told him what we meant to do; his answer was, "then you 
will have a fight," to which I replied, "we know that, but 
we do not mind." A large committee was formed to promote 
Butler's election, of which Rev. W. W. Jones, Fellow of St. 
John's (now Metropolitan of Capetown), the late Canon 
Freeling, Fellow of Merton (who succeeded Butler as Proctor), 
and myself, were the secretaries. Our meetings were held in 
Mr. Jones' rooms at St. John's, and the diocese was thoroughly 
canvassed. We soon found that a storm was rising, and Mr. 
Burgon, Fellow of Oriel, and Vicar of St. Mary's, Oxford (after- 
wards Dean of Chichester), was proposed as a candidate in 
opposition to Butler. Many hard things were said, and there 
was considerable excitement in the diocese. On the morning 
of the election Mr. Burgon's committee made the proposal 
that both candidates should be withdrawn, and that all should 
unite in supporting Rev. A. P. Purey Gust, Vicar of St. Mary's, 
Reading (now Dean of York). Some of us felt that hard 
and unfair things had been said about Butler, and we refused 
to withdraw his name. There was a very large meeting of 
the clergy of the diocese in the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford 
on the day of the election. Canon Charles Lloyd was re-elected 
unanimously, and Butler was proposed by Mr. Ridley, Rector of 


Hambledon, and seconded by Mr. Clutterbuck, Vicar of Long 
Wittenham. He was elected by a very substantial majority. 
Mr. Burgon wrote a very strong and angry letter to the 
Times, complaining that Butler had been put forward in a 
hasty way, and that the diocese was taken by surprise ; but 
the letter was written in complete ignorance of the true state 
of things. 

It is interesting to bear in mind that Butler had been only 
a short time in Convocation when there was a great change 
in the opinions of his opponents. He very soon won their 
confidence, as he did of all those who really knew him ; and 
I well remember his telling me that he had lately met one, 
well known to both of us, who had opposed his election more 
strongly than perhaps any one in the diocese, who said, "So 
far as I am concerned you will never be opposed again, and 
you may remain Proctor as long as you like." 


CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD, February 21, 1874. 

I was sorry to miss you when you called at my rooms this 
morning. But, instead of going out for a walk, I went to the 
Sheldonian Theatre, and heard all the proceedings there this 
afternoon. 1 And the result gave me more pleasure than I can 
well say, alike on public and private grounds. As the schoolmen 
would say, it was, both positively and negatively, good. . . . 
And positively, because, not to add to all that was said in the 
theatre to-day of a more delicate character, such an independent 
public interest as this is what you have long seemed, without 
seeking, to want as the complement and crown to your work ; 
and it will, I hope and expect, open the way to other things, at 
any rate to opportunities for influencing the public action of the 
Church, which will be reassuring to persons like myself who 
watch the proceedings of Convocation with some anxiety. And 
it will be, I hope, not other than welcome to you. 

Sometimes too, I trust, that your London duties may coincide 
with my times of residence, and that we may get the incidental 
advantage, if not of entertaining, at any rate of seeing you more 
frequently than has been the case in the last few years. . . . 
1 The election of the Proctors in Convocation for the diocese. 


I had almost forgotten to thank you for my share of the great 
obligation which the D. and C. of St. Paul's has incurred by your 
recent mission work in the cathedral. May God bless it to many 
souls ! 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, March 1, 1874. 

I do not feel as if I had half thanked you for all your great 
kindness, and hard work on my behalf. I can honestly say that 
I value your affection, and that of so many others, far more than 
the actual success which came of it. I believe that if I had 
foreseen how very serious a matter it would become, I should not 
have ventured to allow myself to be put in nomination. If we 
had been beaten, I have little doubt that we should have had 
leading articles on the text in more than one newspaper. They 
would have represented it as a sign of the inherent soundness of 
the Church, shown in the spewing forth of an obnoxious and 
dangerous faction. It was, beyond all comparison, the most 
important of the Proctorial elections. AVhat we have got to 
fight for is liberty and recognition. The appointment of men 
like Liddon and King to high positions is one great step towards 
this, and the Oxford election for Proctors is another. . . . Now 
I hope to be able to be of a little service in the work of reforming 
Convocation and making it what it ought to be, of real value to 
the Church. Strange to say, so long ago as 1841 I had set my 
heart to see Convocation once more in action. I have a note in 
one of my books on the subject written at that time. It seemed 
to me that a Church without a governing body must get into 
messes, and Convocation seemed the natural Church council. I 
got what information I could from Vincent's father, who was 
Chapter clerk to Westminster. Then came the Bishop of Oxford's 
vigorous and wily efforts to resuscitate it ; and now the ' sleep- 
ing beauty' is awake, and needs only to be taught how to move. 
I hope that the enemy will now be quiet, and leave me in 
peace. . . . 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, March 9, 1874. 

MY DEAR MR. ELTON, I have been so much occupied since 
Feb. 21 that I have been unable before this to write to you to 


thank you for the kindness you have shown me, and the trouble 
which you took in my behalf in regard to the election of Proctors. 
I should certainly not have suggested my own name for such an 
office, nor did I in the least expect to be elected. And this 
makes me feel the more beholden to those who were good 
enough to think well of me, and earnest enough to carry the 
matter to a successful issue. I trust with all my heart that 
I may not disappoint you. At present it seems to me that there 
is little to be done until Convocation can be placed on a sounder 
footing and made more really representative, and therefore more 
trusted by both clergy and laity. I mean, therefore, to keep as 
much as possible out of the somnolent nebulous debates with 
which the columns of The Guardian teem, and to try to work 
towards reform. . . . 

Among the Dogmersfield and Hursley circle of 
friends was Miss Charlotte Yonge, who soon became 
a friend of their friends at Wantage. Letters passed 
occasionally between her and the Vicar. 

W. J. B. TO Miss C. M. YONGE. 

LEE HOUSE, BRIGHTON, Aug. 16, 1870. 

MY DEAR CHARLOTTE, Emma some time since asked me 
some question in your behalf connected with TAU in Ezekiel. I 
was very busy then, and I fear did not quite grasp the point 
of it. Since I have been here I have looked up all that I 
believe is to be said on the subject, and it amounts to this. 
The fathers almost universally accept the Tau as the sign of the 
Cross, foreshadowing, as the Paschal Lamb foreshadowed the Lamb 
of God, the Cross itself. The present fi or Tau is, they say, not 
the original form of the letter. Before the time of Ezra the 
form of it was T, i.e. the Greek Tau and the Latin also. Some 
Syrian versions actually translate " Mark with the Cross." Of 
course, Rev. vii. 3, etc., is the exact counterpart to Ezek. ix. It 
is maintained by Cornelius a Lapide that T was marked in the 
heart of the god Serapis as a sign denoting future life. Various 
other explanations have been given that it is the first letter of 
p " thou shalt live," or CP " innocent," etc., but it seems to 


me that the other is right. I am here till Thursday with my 
mother and sister, en route to Dauphine, i.e. I, not they. I have 
never seen La Grande Chartreuse, and now that I am baulked of 
Ober Ammergau, I thought that I could pick up something there. 
However, this terrible war makes movements of this kind 
uncertain, and I hardly know what will become of me for the 
next three weeks. How strange it is to have so wonderful a 
duel at one's doors, and to feel so utterly careless as to which 
prevails ! Of course, abstractedly, one would wish well to 
France ; but the Secret Treaty, and the insufficiency of the cause 
of war, neutralise this feeling in this present instance. But the 
tremendous probable issues take away one's breath. One can 
but gaze and pray, as in some frightful storm. . . . Have 
you read the life of Pere Besson ? 

Miss Yonge gives her impressions of Wantage 
and its Vicar : 

I had heard much about Wantage before I saw it, from the 
inhabitants of Dogmersfield Rectory, where both Mr. and Mrs. 
Butler had been almost like a son and daughter. There is a 
sermon of Newman's on St. Ambrose and his influence on St. 
Augustine, showing how many of the greatest and most active 
workers have felt the influence of quiet, hidden saints; and 
what the Rev. Charles Dyson, his wife, and his sister Mary 
Anne, were to many, and especially to their curates, might be 
cited as an instance. 

Owing to bad health, there was an air of venerable age about 
Mr. Dyson even at Oxford, for it was a joke that the first time 
they met, when Mr. Keble had just gained his scholarship at 
Corpus at fourteen, Mr. Dyson thought, " Here are boys coming 
in to spoil all our comfort " ; and Mr. Keble thought, " Here 
is one of the old dons I have heard of." But there was soon 
an intensely warm friendship between them, and likewise with 
the future judge, John Taylor Coleridge; and the wisdom of 
Mr. Dyson was always referred to, as in course of time the 
brilliant appreciation, and the constant sympathy and good 
sense of Mrs. and Miss Dyson. 

The latter had a most remarkable mixture of enthusiastic 
idealism and practical sense ; and in the early days of Dogmers- 
field Rectory, when all was fresh and they were just entering 


on the work of a country parish, so small in population as to 
be readily workable, and with a lady of the manor who was 
a model landlord after the notions of those times, there was 
much that was bright and helpful. The Tracts for the Times 
were disseminating principles, and accounts of their influence 
came in; while work in the same direction was done by zeal- 
ously instructing the cottage children and by writing, among a 
conclave of friends, a number of books adapted for their use, 
and those of young people of the higher class. Some of the 
earlier volumes of the Magazine for the Young thoroughly reflect 
the parish treatment, and the enjoyment of it, shared by the 
future Mrs. Butler and her sister. Among these friends the 
translations from Fouque were undertaken, Sintram, translated 
by Mrs. Butler, being a book that has told deeply on many 
minds. I think Mr. Butler wrote a review of these and of 
Fouque's life in the British Critic, or Christian Remembrancer. 

Miss Dyson used to relate how the offer of Wantage was 
accepted with the wish that Mr. Butler could find a wise old 
curate, not to work, but to advise. Not that his vigorous nature 
needed direction or stimulus. It was the time of fresh renova- 
tion in the Church, and of experiments. This is not the place 
to tell how they were begun. When I first knew Wantage the 
principal improvements were already established, and nothing 
struck me so much as the zest, life, and spirit which pervaded 
everything. The early service, the merry breakfast, the schools, 
the parish visiting, the mid-day dinner with the curates, the 
various claims on the afternoon, the classes (for pupil teachers, 
for communicants, male or female on different days), the even- 
ing visits to parishioners, so as to see the men or boys; the 
evensong, with a sermon twice a week; all concluded by a 
supper as lively as the former meals had ben ; all came in 
quick succession, and there was something brilliant and some- 
times quaint about all. 

Once I had the pleasure of listening to a lesson to the pupil 
teachers. They were numerous, and their class was a regular 
preparation for Training Colleges, and, as diocesan examinations 
and syllabuses had not begun, a teacher had more choice of 
subjects. This lesson was on the last chapter of the Epistle 
to the Philippians, and I remember especially the dwelling on 
the word crown in its distinctive meaning as the crown of 


acbievement, not the diadem of royalty. Also the moral deduced 
from the message to Euodias and Syntyehe of the harm good 
women do to a holy cause by disagreement. The beginning of 
his teaching of these girls was the enforcing of undivided atten- 
tion, and of good hand-writing. 'The Vicar' could be very 
sharp where these failed ' faineant ' spirits fainted, strong ones 
rose into enthusiastic affection and energetic work, and admirable 
persons were the result. 

Once too, as I came down stairs, the study door was open, 
and I had a glimpse of the elder men's communicant class. They 
were fine old country men's heads, and I told the Vicar that they 
looked like Conscript Fathers, which amused him very much. 

The schools were in admirable order, from the infant* upwards, 
and thoroughly well taught and grounded in religious subjects as 
well as in secular. But Mr. Butler laid great stress on the 
work upon growing lads and kisses, holding that the great matter 
was to impress them and keep them in hand, at a time when 
their characters were forming and their experience beginning. 

The vicarage is before my mind the mullioned windows of 
the dining-room, festooned with creepers; a shady walk lead- 
ing to the churchyard, bordered with limes, and skirting a lawn. 
It was a place of general hospitality for gentle and for 
simple, where endless deep discussions and many merry jokes 
might go on among old and young, specially after supper when 
the day's work was done, and its humours could be related. For 
playfulness was a great element in the household, and Miss 
Dyson, who loved it well, used to say that Mrs. Butler's strong 
sense of the ridiculous 1 had been a great safeguard against eccen- 
tricities of ritual, when so much was experimental and curates 
were hot-headed and theoreticaL 

There certainly was an uncompromising contempt of nonsense, 
and therewith of unreal sentiment; and there were some who 
could not stand the ordeal of irony. The atmosphere was a 
good deal like a brisk frosty morning, excellent and enjoyable 
to the active and energetic, but a severe test to the weaker, 
or to those who thought charity akin to indifference to evil. 
Simple folly was borne with, humbug never tolerated. 

Bishop Samuel Wilberforce once said (in joke) that at Wantage 
there was no rest day or night. Everything was done with 
1 Inherited doubtless with her Canning blood. 


full activity by day, and at night first there were conversations 
lasting into the small hours, and then the doves cooed and the 
clock chimed! 

All was however delightful to those in high health and high 
spirits. One visit I remember, made memorable by an expedition 
to Fairford to see the marvellous windows with which Mr. 
Keble grew up, and his old home, with the rooks about which 
he wrote a poem for his little nephew (in Miscellaneous Poems). 
It was a drive, interesting and delightful in all ways. Another 
time we went to Dorchester, the Oxfordshire Dorchester, with 
the writhing Templar on his tomb, and the Jesse window in 
solid stone, not merely glass. Also there was a picnic to 
what was called Scutchamer Nob (supposed to be King Cwichelm's 
knoll), a round Berkshire mound surmounting other hills, near 
the supposed site of Alfred's battle of Ethandune. Near at 
hand was the White Horse, a very Saxon specimen of drawing 
indeed, all legs upon a slope; but whose scouring in Alfred's 
tenth centenary is celebrated by 'Tom Hughes,' and com- 
memorated by the Wantage Grammar School. There too we 
saw Wayland Smith's cave, a disappointment, since it is only 
a cromlech in a copse, not at all favourable for Tressilian's 
adventures with Flibbertigibbet. 

All these were times of most interesting conversations, I 
wish I could remember them minutely. One, I know, was on 
the Sabbatarian question, when Mr. Butler was more tolerant 
of selling sweets on Sunday than I expected. I remember his 
saying he had tried to persuade an old woman that it was 
not wrong, because he found that it kept her from Holy 
Communion, as she would not give it up, though her conscience 
went against it. He said he had grown up to consider a sweet 
or cake a legitimate Sunday treat, when at school at Westminster. 
I did not and cannot agree. 

We were quite agreed in disliking the system of sending 
Sisters out on a "Que'te." It is more blessed to give than 
to receive, but there is no blessing on begging. The Wantage 
Sisters have never done it, yet they have thriven. This 
is all that I clearly recollect. There were other meetings, 
and especially one when he came to us for Mr. Keble's 
funeral. He was full of two things the dangers of Ecce 
Homo, and the beauty of Gerontius. He would read to us 



the most undesirable bits of the former ; my mother said 
on the principle of " come and smell this, it is so horrid." But 
he advised me not to read it for the sake of others, or any 
such books. 

Gerontius he read us likewise, with exceeding admiration ; 
but after we had stood at that grave, with the celandines 
sparkling in the sunshine on the bank, while the twenty-third 
Psalm was sung, "I felt," he said, "as if it were all swept 

A few more letters exchanged with Dr. Liddon 
bring the correspondence of the Wantage life to 
an end. 


CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD, Monday, March 20, [1876]. 

Ever since the news of Bishop Milman's 1 death reached us, 
I have been thinking how very sorely it must press upon you. 
When I first became curate of Wantage, in Jan. 1853, I re- 
member your saying out in the garden, " There is one man of 
genius in this neighbourhood, Milman of Lambourne ; we must 
go over and see him." We did go, and drove back at night 
by moonlight; and those first impressions, deepened and en- 
riched as they were by subsequent contact with him, have been a 
mental treasure of mine ever since. I owe them really, as so 
much else, to you; and my own feeling at his removal from 
this earthly scene must be a sort of faint reflection, I know, of 
yours. And yet what an event it really is ! And how quietly 
the world takes it except a friend here and there just as if 
nothing very particular had happened at all ! 

No person now left in the high places of the Church, as it 
seems to me, combined so much, and combined it so well as 
he did. To begin at the bottom, he was a philologist and a 
philosopher two minds not often found in one, and both so 
necessary for India ! Then he was a man of steady adherence 
to principle, yet of immense consideration for others even 
The Record, I see, has a respectful word for him on this score. 
Then while he was a thorough Ecclesiastic, or Christian in Holy 
Orders who believes his creed and work to be of the first im- 
1 Bishop of Calcutta ; died March 15, 1876. 



portance, he knew enough of mankind at large to do them 

I cannot say how much I had looked forward to the privilege 
of seeing him again. W. H. Milman says that they were to 
have arrived in England on May 24. Poor Miss Milman ! what 
she will do out there alone ! and with all the anxieties which 
must attend and follow his death, I cannot think. ... I 
follow the texts of your Lent addresses each day : they are here 
in my study hanging up, and do me good, as well as the Wantage 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, January 2, 1877. 

... I thought on Sunday of your kind wish that I should 
preach at St. Paul's that night, and grumbled in my mind at the 
shortness of the tether which the work of a place like this allows. 
But I was well rewarded and rebuked on Monday, when we had 
333 communicants, of whom 230 came to church at 4.30 A.M. 
I am very thankful to see that the daily Sacrifice of the Church 
is once more offered in St. Paul's. It cannot, I think, fail to 
bring a blessing on all the dwellers in London, perhaps even on 
others to whom the Cathedral of London seems, though techni- 
cally it is not, the metropolitan church. 

We are all (D.Gr.) well and cheerful. The change from strength 
and vigour to old age and decrepitude, which I suppose must 
come in course of time, has not fallen yet on our household. . . . 


KILCOMAN, July 13, 1877. 

I must write one line to say how grateful I (with many others, 
no doubt) am to you for what you said in Convocation on the 
subject of confession. Even at a time of excitement like this 
your words cannot fail to do a great deal of good, and this not- 
withstanding 's invidious comments upon them. , 

however, is not likely to harm you much; he is a master of 
popular platitudes, but not a man to move mountains whether 
for good or evil. How odd it is that so many sensible people, 
who know nothing whatever about confession from a personal 
experience, yet can make the strongest statements about it on 


purely a priori grounds. In any other subject-matter they would 
be the first to feel the absurdity of such a proceeding ; but un- 
theological passion, disguised under the form of zeal for the 
purity and simplicity of religion, is capable of a good deal that is 
absurd or worse. . . . 


3 AMEN COURT, E.G., August 1, 1877. 

... I saw an account of the Wantage festivities 1 in the papers, 
and read them, you may be sure, with great interest. If you 
were an Italian, what an inscription you would put up to com- 
memorate the Prince's visit! But, as you are an Englishman, 
you will probably do nothing of the kind, though these mementos 
have their use for those who come after us. ... 

In 1880 his parochial life ended. He had gone 
abroad in August for his annual holiday, and, as 
his custom was, left his letters to accumulate during 
his absence. In the heap that lay at Wantage was 
one that would materially change his life. It was 
an offer from Mr. Gladstone of a canonry in Wor- 
cester Cathedral. Some three weeks passed, and 
no answer being received by the Premier, the curates 
were communicated with ; the letter was found and 
opened, and its contents were telegraphed to the 
Vicar in Tyrol. He returned at once to England, 
and w^ent to Worcester to see the place and make 
the necessary inquiries about the canonry, which 
had been previously held by a personal friend of 
his, Richard Seymour. 

There were two points which needed settling 
before he could make up his mind to accept the 

1 When the Prince and Princess of Wales came to "Wantage to unveil 
a statue of King Alfred, which was set up in the market-place by 
Sir Robert Loyd Lindsay, now Lord Wantage. 


preferment. He could not endure the thought of 
a severance of his connexion with the Wantage 
sisterhood, and he was determined not to alter 
what had been his practice during the whole of 
his clerical life in using the eastward position in 
celebrating the Holy Communion. Finding there 
was no difficulty on these points, he accepted the 
canonry. These letters show what his feeling had 
been in making the decision to leave his old home. 

W. J. B. TO . 

Sept. 3, 1880. 

Mr. Gladstone has offered me the vacant canonry of Wor- 
cester. In a worldly point of view it is a 'good thing.' But 
I cannot accept it without first ascertaining how far it would 
accord with my present work. I received a telegraph message 
at Innsbruck, and I wrote to Mr. G. to that effect. It is 
very kind of him to offer me the first piece of real preferment 
that has fallen into his hands, considering that he cannot rank 
me among his supporters. 

W. J. B. TO . 

Sept. 8, 1880. 

The matter is all settled. I found that I could hold the 
canonry without giving up the work of the Sisters and of 
the diocese, though eventually I must resign the parish and 
with it of course the vicarage, which I love so much and 
which so exactly meets my needs. At Worcester there is a 
large house, much too large, and very ugly though comfort- 
able, needing more servants and state, etc. But all doubtless 
will shape itself. 


WANTAGE VICARAGE, Sept. 14, 1880. 

Thank you very heartily for all your loving words and deeds. 
I know well that I have no truer friend than you. Nothing 


ever more surprised me than the offer of this canonry. I neither 
sought it nor cared for it. When I was elected Proctor for the 
diocese, owing to your kind and vigorous exertions, I felt that I 
had attained an honour of the most heart-satisfying kind. To 
be elected by one's fellows fastidious and critical as the clergy 
are seemed to me enough to gratify all one's ambition. And 
with that I simply hoped to hold on as long as I had power to do 
justice to such a charge. I did hope eventually to resign 
Wantage, and to say, ' Pauperiem sine dote quaero. ' Now 
however in this canonry I have what enables me to do this 
'handsomely.' People will understand that it is impossible to 
hold a parish which makes such a demand on one's powers, 
together with an office which necessitates three months' absence 
yearly. While at the same time I hope to live here at first at 
' The Mead,' then wherever I can and watch over the Sisters, 
and take such part as I have hitherto taken in the general work 
of the diocese. This is what the Bishop wishes, and what falls 
in with my own instincts. Enough about myself. . . . 


LEE HOUSE, BRIGHTON, Jan. 9, 1881. 

Believe me, that nothing but a clear perception that 
this change will in the long run be the best for all could have 
induced me to make it. It is true that I might have gone 
on for some time longer, but then I might have broken down 
just when it would have been of all importance to be well and 
strong. . . . Moreover, it is to be remembered that life 
does not last for ever. We must all try to look forward a little 
to that blessed time when there shall be no more separation, 
but all shall be one and together in the Presence of our 
blessed Lord. . . . 

Naturally the first thing that occupied his 
thoughts was the appointment of his successor. He 
could not have left Wantage with any happiness 
had he not been assured that the vicar who came 
after him would carry on his work in the same spirit 
and on the same lines. Fortunately the appoint- 



ment of his friend and former curate, T. H. Archer 
Houblon, then Rector of Peasemore, completely set 
his mind at rest on this subject. 

He had always disliked testimonials, 1 but it was 
impossible for him, after such a life and work, to 
leave his parish without many tokens of the love and 
esteem of his people. He was also greatly touched 
and pleased by the gift of some carved oak book- 
cases from his former curates, made for his new study 
at Worcester ; and a letter from Mrs. Butler to the 
Rev. W. G. Sawyer tells how the idea was conceived 
and carried out. 

WANTAGE VICARAGE, Dec. 19, 1880. 

Thank you for your letter, and for the confidence reposed 
in me. Nothing could be better than bookcases for the dear 
land old-Curates' offering. Especially as Henry Houblon ' takes ' 
to those that line the study here. If the cases did not swallow- 
up all the money (which / esteem a most generously large 
amount), then some books might be added. Of course there 
are difficulties in the way of selection, but I think that if you 
will trust to me to negotiate the affair, with the help of Lady 
Alwyne Compton whose taste, cleverness, and leisure are always 
at her friends' disposal and of an ingenious man in old oak, 
named Jeff, we might manage to have the right sort of book- 
cases erected and planted, unbeknown to the Vicar. The one 
thing I deprecate is the money being handed over bodily to him, 
not so much that he would lose it ! but because it would be 
unpoetical, and he would be hurt and pained instead of having 
his heart so touched and made happy by the constant loyal 
affection of his much loved fellow-labourers. It quite made my 
heart bound, when I was recalling all the old names with the 
Houblons, and being reminded that in that long list there was 

1 He once made an epitaph on himself : 

" Willing, but weak and witless, one lies here 
Who died without a ' teapot ' or a tear !" 


not one but was doing good and acceptable service to our dear 
mother the Church of England. If you and the rest approve, 
then I will set to work by letter, and circumvent the Vicar's 
orders to his carpenter. We do not now expect to be at Wor- 
cester until the 12th January, but we shall turn out from here 
the previous week. It is very trying to break up one's home 
of thirty-four years standing, and there is a deal to be done. 

Some years later, in March, 1885, when, owing to a 
fall at St. Giles's Vicarage, Eeading, which renewed 
the old trouble in his back, he was obliged to lie 
quiet for a time, he refers to this gift in lines which 
portray the characters of his former fellow- workers. 
The little poem was privately printed, and sent to 
those old friends who formed its subject. A few 
extracts are given. 

The motto to the poem is : 

Mi) dXXa^ys <j>i\ov dSiaffropov, p,r)8' d 

Z'. 177. 

It begins : 

Dear Brothers and old Comrades, who the fight 

Have fought with me of faith, in that great fray 

'Twixt ill and good, death, life, the fiend and God, 

Dear friends of many a year, I love to dwell 

On days past by, when to the little child, 

Or aged man just tottering to the grave, 

Or widow in her woe, or youth, or maid, 

Or suffering saint, or hardened sinner's heart, 

Or those who hardly live by parish dole, 

In school or church, or busy tradesman's house, 

In poor man's cot, or field, or market place, 

We strove, God helping us, to teach His Word. 

And now I sit and muse, while each and all 

Those well-remembered names, for ever stamped 


On that their kindly and most welcome gift, 
Holding what next I love, my store of books, 
The gleanings of a life-time, bring to mind 
Those well-remembered faces, voices, forms. 

The verses proceed to describe in a few lines for 
each, the characters of those who formed the long 
line of Wantage curates. Among them was A. H. 
Mackonochie, 1852 : 

Next I see one with countenance serene, 

And kindly smile, and firm resolving brow, 

Whose single aim has been the Church's weal, 

And ever to resist man's alien law. 

Dear friend ! fain would I that thy lot were cast 

In less perturbed waters, where thy love 

And self-forgetful zeal and earnest word 

Had found free course for that thy heart's desire, 

The priest's best work, the winning souls for God. 

Then follows H. P. Liddon, 1853 : 

Here too is he, in word, in lore unmatched, 
True courtier of the Queen of Sciences, 
The learned theologian, firm and strong 
To hold the faith once given to the saints, 
Yet gentle as a child, whose sparkling wit 
And playful humour, brightening argument, 
Refutes gainsayers, yet leaves no wound behind. 


two brothers, one whose joy has been 
The weird agaric and the hidden lines 
Of rock and fossil to investigate. 
The other, vigorous, hearty, truest friend ; 
Of hirsute aspect, yet of gentlest heart, 
Much to be cherished, worthy there to dwell 
Where souls need strong, and wise, and tender guide. 

The late Father O'Neill, who came to Wantage 
in 1864, 1 is thus described: 

1 See Chapter VI., p. 175. 


And here is one most faithful, blunt in tone, 
No smooth-tongued man-observer, knowing naught 
Save Christ and Him the crucified, and those 
For whom Christ died, offering in distant land, 
'Mid strange and dusky faces, all he had, 
Till martyr-like at length his life he gave. 

So he goes through the long list, lightly touching 
the characteristics of each with a loving hand, till 
the conclusion is reached : 

And thus, as when some noble drama done, 

The last act finished, voices hushed and still, 

They who so well have wrought, together stand 

Just for one lingering moment, side by side, 

While they who gaze are filled with gratitude 

For all they have seen and heard and solace sweet 

Which they have tasted while the play went on ; 

So I, recalling four-and-thirty years, 

Those strangely mingled days of joy and woe, 

Of disappointment, and of good success, 

Of efforts some rewarded, some in vain 

Of steady growth amidst anxieties, 

Of seed oft sown in tears, then reaped in joy, 

Ever have these before me, comrades true, 

And lift up thankful heart and voice to Him 

Who made us all of one mind in one house. 

In the last entries he wrote in the " Parish 
Journal," he said his farewell to his Wantage life. 

Dec. 31, 1880. Thus then ends the last, or thirty-fourth, year 
of the present vicar's incumbency of Wantage. In looking back 
to the days gone by, there is indeed the deepest cause for thank- 
fulness. God has indeed prospered and blessed this work, 
giving " beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the 
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" ; for a miserable 
unedifying service the sweet singing of the choir ; for a church, 
dirty, disfigured, unchristian, our present beautiful House of 
God; for communicants, scarcely one in 150, 600; for schools 
not worthy of the name, where some 24 boys and 12 girls 


were educated, the only general school of the parish build- 
ings, and teachers watching over 600 children, besides the 
Grammar school revived in better character than ever before, 
and St. Mary's school where other classes than the poorest are 
admirably taught and trained ; and then lastly, the Community 
of Sisters, whose very presence brings blessings with it. Nor 
must we pass by St. Michael's on the Downs, nor our little 
chapel at Charlton, nor our mission room in Grove Street, all of 
which are exercising the happiest and most blessed influence. 
These are solid blessings such as cannot well be marred. The 
machinery is fairly sufficient. It will need only constant use. 
The tone of the parish very different from that which I remem- 
ber in days gone by, is kindly, reasonable, trusting. Prejudices 
have departed. Church teaching has been proved and accepted. 

Thursday, the Epiphany, Jan. 6, 1881. On this day William 
John Butler, Vicar of Wantage for upwards of thirty-four years, 
left his much-loved flock and home to enter on the duties of 
Canon of Worcester. May God forgive him his many short- 
comings, failures, neglects, and in His mercy find a place for 
him at the feet of faithful pastors of His sheep. 

He took leave of his parishioners in this letter : 

WANTAGE VICARAGE, December 3rd, 1880. 

among you for the long space of thirty-four years in true 
affection and intimacy, I feel that I cannot withdraw from a 
connexion so deeply loved and cherished without a word of 
explanation. I do not, need I say it, wish to leave Wantage 
on the contrary, I am well aware that I cannot possibly look 
to days happier and more full of blessings than those which 
I have spent among you, still less again to form friendships like 
those in which I now so greatly rejoice, some of those who have 
grown up under my eye and care to manhood and womanhood, 
whom I have had the privilege of preparing for the holy Kites 
of the Church, others of those who for many a long year have 
wrought with me and maintained the cause of Christ and His 
Church, others again in whose homes I never fail to enter as a 
kindly-welcomed guest. Nor can I forget that in our church- 
yard lie some of those who are most dear and near to my heart. 
In truth, I believe that almost nothing would have induced me 


to resign this charge, save a conviction that my resignation at 
this time is the best for all. For some years past I have felt 
that the charge of a large and important parish like this of 
Wantage is more than I can happily compass. Hitherto, I thank 
God, I have been able, I think, fairly to meet the many demands 
on my time and strength but it is impossible for me not to 
be aware that, like all others, I must look to old age and 
infirmity as years roll on. 

When then it pleased Her Majesty the Queen to permit a 
Canonry of a Cathedral Church to be offered to me, I could 
not but look upon this as an opportunity not to be rejected 
of seeing the parish of Wantage placed as I trusted in the 
hands of a younger man, who, it might be reasonably hoped, 
would carry on that work to which most freely and gladly I 
have devoted all the best years of my life. 

Such a one, I rejoice to think, has been designated as my 
successor the result, I cannot doubt, of many earnest prayers 
one whom all know well, and have already learnt to respect 
in whose hands I can trust all, without one shadow of doubt 
or anxiety. 

For myself I can scarcely look forward. I know of a certainty 
that in the ordinary course of nature I cannot be very long 
either at Worcester or anywhere else. I trust however that 
I may be enabled, even in the evening of life, to do some little 
work for God's glory, before that "night cometh when no man 
can work " : and for this I would earnestly ask your prayers. 
I would ask you to pray both for me and for him who is 
about to succeed me, that we may each do our duty honestly 
and faithfully in our new spheres of service in the Lord's Vine- 
yard. I need not add that, so long as I live, the welfare and 
interests of this parish will always be most dear to my heart. 

Earnestly praying that God's blessing may ever rest upon 
you, I am, my dear friends and parishioners, your very loving 


WHILE his house at Worcester was getting ready, 
the new Canon and his family stayed at the Deanery, 
and there laid the foundations of the closest friend- 
ship of his later life : 

You ask me to write, says Lady Alwyne Compton, what I 
can remember of your father, but it is very difficult. It seems as 
if one should have his vigour to describe him. He must have 
been nearly sixty when I saw him first, and yet he was full of 
boyish life and energy, with the keenest interest and enjoyment 
in everything, and the warmest sympathy for all around him. 
I never knew any one to whom religion was more the well- 
spring of his life, that kept it always fresh. ' The breath of daily 
prayer and praise sanctified his noble mind.' He was vehement, 
yet very gentle ; stern, yet brimming over with sympathy. 

I first saw him at Cambridge, when everybody was talking 
of Lothair. ' The divine Theodora ' was blamed for entering 
into a plot to blow up Louis Napoleon. ' People must be put out 
of the way,' he said laughingly, "if they interfere with great 
principles.' I used to tell him that the first thing I learned of 
him was to do evil that good might come ! 

In 1880 he was made Canon of Worcester, when we were in 
the Deanery, and from that time our friendship with him and 
your mother and you was always growing, if it could be said to 
grow when it was so perfect from the beginning. 

We had great difficulty in believing that he could live or take 
any interest in a new place like Worcester ; but in a very few 

302 WORCESTER 1881- 

weeks, I had almost said days, it was full of old friends to 

He knew the history of every verger and workman about the 
Cathedral, and threw himself heartily into the interests of all 
whom he met in the city. 

No one ever went to him in vain for help or advice. He 
often found time for a class once a month, to which he invited 
some of our servants and others, to talk to them about the Holy 
Communion. ' I don't believe in your religion,' he used to say, 
' unless you say your prayers and go to Holy Communion.' Our 
servants were always ready to go, and have never forgotten 
his teaching. He knew all the servants' names, and had a 
kind word for them whenever he went in and out of the house. 
When at breakfast about nine, we used to hear the door bang, 
then a quick step coming up two stairs at a time, and he would 
rush into the room : ' What ! still at breakfast ! I've had mine an 
hour ago.' 

He had a marvellous power of imparting his own strength 
and enthusiasm, and I always remember, on the wonderful day of 
his funeral, the character of calm strength in the faces of the 
crowd of friends who filled the Cathedral and the cloisters. 
There has been a great silence since he went away. 

The pastoral spirit which was always alive in him 
soon led him to form some communicant classes on 
the old Wantage lines : 


. . I had a class last week, composed of our servants and the 
servants at the Deanery, seven in number altogether. I should 
not be surprised if by degrees I get together something like the 
old Wantage classes. At least, I mean to try to do so. You see 
that there is a great difference between a Cathedral and a parish. 
I have no one exactly who claims my services. A good many 
people attend the Cathedral, but they belong to some parish or 
other, and I know nothing about them personally. Still we have 
a, great many people, vergers, bedesmen, singing men, boys of the 
choir, a grammar school connected with the Cathedral, and I 
hope by-and-bye to get hold of some of them. . . . 


But he found plenty of work ready to his hand in 
his new capacity of Canon Residentiary. 

Already efforts had been begun to make the restored Cathedral 
more spiritually useful in the city and diocese. Canon Barry, 
with the co-operation of the Chapter, had established a Sunday 
evening nave service, and had secured a better observance of the 
Holy Week by arranging a special evening service at which 
Bach's 'Passion Music' was sung. 

Canon Butler, being the Canon in residence during the Lent 
season of 1881, gave a series of addresses at three P.M. in the 
Lady Chapel twice a week. These addresses were as much 
appreciated in Worcester as afterwards in Lincoln Cathedral. 
It was also by his advice that a Thursday Celebration of 
the Holy Eucharist was then adopted. 

From the earliest years of his ministry Canon Butler had 
always been a great promoter of real education, i.e. of education 
grounded on a basis of definite religious teaching. He was never 
tired of denouncing in the strongest terms the sham of ' unde- 
nominationalism.' It was therefore natural that he should at 
once apply himself to the wants of Worcester in this respect. 
Beginning with the Cathedral, he observed that the daily attend- 
ance of the choristers (all of whom were then Worcester boys) at 
matins and evensong, and at practice, had the effect of drawing 
them away from the Cathedral Grammar school at important 
hours of study, thereby seriously hindering their chance of 
education. By this time the appointment of Canon Melville 
and Canon Knox Little had brought fresh elements of vigour 
to the Chapter. Accordingly a scheme was carefully thought 
out, and approved by the Chapter, by which a separate choir 
school was set up for the Cathedral choristers. The wardenship 
of this school was entrusted to one of the minor canons (the 
present Precentor), who for many years had worked with Canon 
Butler at Wantage as assistant curate. The classical and mathe- 
matical instruction of the boys was entrusted to a very able man, 
whose education and training from boyhood had been personally 
supervised by Canon Butler himself. 

The choir school was commenced in January, 1882, and by the 
kindness of the Dean was carried on for the first six months at 
the Deanery, until a suitable house was available in College 

304 WORCESTER 1881- 

Green for boarding the boys. The choir school has now de- 
veloped into a preparatory school for the sons of gentlemen and 
professional men; and the list of distinctions and honours won 
by the boys in competitive examinations shows that to give 
three hours a day to Cathedral duties in no way interferes with 
the work of general education. 

In the year 1882 the want of some better provision for the 
education of upper class girls began to be acutely felt in Wor- 
cester. While good endowed schools supplied amply the needs 
of the boys, their sisters were dependent upon private effort, 
which had proved wholly inadequate to meet the ever-increasing 
demands of the educational movement of the time. Naturally 
Canon Butler, who had the genius of a great educationalist, was 
foremost in promoting a scheme for the establishment of a 
school which should meet this need. 

The leading citizens of the town, attracted by the manly 
vigour and sound common sense of the new Canon, gave their 
hearty co-operation to the scheme. A suitable house was pur- 
chased for the purposes of the school by the late Lord 
Beauchamp, who by all means in his power strongly supported 
the project. And in June, 1883, the work was fairly started on 
Church principles, and with a conscience clause, under a Head 
Mistress of the Canon's selection. 

Some of those who had known how persistently Canon Butler 
had opposed the introduction of a conscience clause into National 
schools were surprised at what appeared to them the incon- 
sistency of his accepting it in a High school. But he saw clearly 
that the circumstances are wholly different. The adoption of 
a conscience clause makes it possible to give definite Church 
teaching, because parents have full liberty to withdraw their 
children from the whole, or from any part of it, so that the 
teacher can be true to her own convictions while perfectly 
loyal to the wishes of the parents, who certainly have the 
right to determine what form of religion their children shall 
be taught; whereas in schools where all children must come 
to the divinity classes, a conscientious teacher is perpetually 
hampered by fearing that she may be teaching what some of 
them would disapprove, and finds herself upon the horns of a 
dilemma, untrue either to herself or to them. 

The Canon's clear-sightedness and generosity averted what he 


felt would have been the real calamity of an undenominational 
school being started in Worcester ; he never used the word 
'undenominational' without the modification 'so-called', for he 
used to say that there could be no such thing as real undenomi- 
nationalism ; that in practice it either means no religion, or 
something so colourless as to have no reality; no backbone of 
definite dogma which can enable it to stand against the rising 
flood of agnosticism. 

The success of the school has proved the wisdom of his pre- 
science; but it was not only in laying down the true lines at 
first, but also by his constant fostering care, that he contributed 
so largely to that success. 

His generous trust in all those who worked with him inspired 
them with something of his own enthusiasm ; it was such a 
joy to give him pleasure; one could not but long and strive 
to be what he believed one to be; the sound of his cheery 
voice, the grip of his friendly hand, seemed to impart some 
of his own manly vigour, and he thoroughly understood the 
details of school life. While he detested mere theorising, he 
had strong and clear views of the true aims and of the right 
methods of teaching; to hear him give a lesson was worth 
months of ordinary training ; no eye could wander, no attention 
flag, while he held the young minds 'at tension'; and with 
absolute accuracy and perfect clearness drove home the point 
he meant them to apprehend. 

Verily had his path lain in that direction he would have 
been the greatest head master of this century. But there was 
another side to this strong, and as it appeared to those who 
knew him only superficially, somewhat stern character; a depth 
of untold tenderness ; a sympathy, womanlike in its gentleness, 
which was called forth at once by suffering or sorrow; it is 
difficult to touch upon this without lifting the veil that should 
cover the sanctities of the hidden life; but those who have 
felt it, perhaps first learned from him that the word ' comfort ' 
means 'strength,' and think of him as, above all, a very St. 
Barnabas, a son of consolation. 

Closely connected with this was his chivalrous attitude 
towards all women. His ideal of Christian womanhood was a 
very high one, and if he strongly deprecated any approach to 
publicity in woman's work, it certainly was not that he de- 

306 WORCESTER 1881- 

preciated their powers, but that he feared for them the loss 
of the delicate refinement, the purity, the humility, which he 
held to be their distinguishing and characteristic virtues, "the 
ornament of a meek and quiet spirit." 

So write two of those who worked with him at 
Worcester. He himself wrote to Canon Liddon : 



... I have taken an active part here in setting afloat 
a ' High school ' another hateful word for girls. I had 
three alternatives (1) and worst, to hold my hand and then 

suffer to swoop down upon us, and set up a school which 

would certainly do much to stamp out what there is of 
Churchmanship and even Christianity from the city. 

(2) To set up a school with what people are pleased to call 
'undenominational teaching,' which again means something 
against the Church. For there are only two religions in 
England with any definite doctrinal faith, ourselves and the 
Roman Catholics. The others are all covered and included and 
maintained by the word 'undenominational.' 

(3) To have such as our present school, where the teaching 
is most definite, with a power for parents to withdraw children 
from the religious instruction. I believe that this will never 
be exercised. But it satisfies the great mass of those who 
certainly otherwise would have set going (1) or (2). ... In 
the colonies the (R.C.) Sisters and others receive masses of 
children into their schools, with an understanding that they 
are not to influence them towards the R.C. religion. Of 
course this very often results as one might expect, though 
the promise may be honestly kept. I think that there is a 
great difference between day schools and boarding schools in 
this matter. A boarding school is a family where one and 
one only faith can rightfully exist. . . . But it is very different 
when you are making arrangements for day-school teaching in 
a town. We have to deal with masses of Church people, who 
are themselves not half instructed, and if you refuse to satisfy 
their scruples, you simply precipitate them into the opposite 


camp. Whereas by a little patience you bring them to be 
strong supporters of the truth. I found this to be the case 
in Wantage, and I believe that it will be the same here. . . . 



I am driven to write to you on account of the few words 
of yours which I read in the Guardian, lately spoken at Oxford 
on the subject of women. I am most thankful that you said 
them. It is to my mind by far, and beyond all comparison, 
the saddest feature of this generation, that women are claiming, 
and are encouraged to claim, a position which is not intended 
for them; and that they do not perceive the inevitable con- 
sequence, that while they never can emulate men in men's 
work, and can at best be but poor imitators, they will lose 
that most grand power and influence which are really and 
by God's providence their own. 

I am sometimes thankful to think that the end of my earthly 
life cannot be far off. It seems to me that what with the 
sentimentality of one set of minds, the recklessness of others, 
the self-will, the weak abandonment of those great Church 
principles which men like Mr. Keble held and taught . . . 
there is a very bad time ahead. 

I trust that will comport himself reasonably. ... If 

men of his type would be Churchmen first, and then politicians, 
the case would of course be different. I always tell them to 
vote and work for those who "love our nation and build us 
synagogues." That text seems to embody the politics of a 
true Churchman. . . . 

Other letters, illustrating the Worcester period, 



. . . Depend on it, there is nothing like Church teaching 
to make children grow up in the right road. What crowds of 
young men and young women are now, I thank God, doing well. 
There is something in Church teaching definite and satisfying, 

3o8 WORCESTER 1881- 

which cannot be found elsewhere. Prayer, Church, Holy Com- 
munion, these are the means by which God's grace enters the 
soul, and when people seek and use them, they will not go far 

No one could have grieved more than I, when I was, as I 
thought, called upon to relinquish a place and post which I 
loved so dearly. But I had to look to the future, and it was 
quite clear to me that it would be better for the future welfare 
of the parish, that a younger man should be appointed. . . . 


DUBLIN, May 5, 1883. 

MY DEAR TAYLOR, I was delighted to get your letter in this 
wild land, and to hear that your 'magnum opus' is really about 
to see the light. You must feel the joy of delivery ' that a man 
is born into the world.' It is most kind of you to offer a copy 
to such an ignoramus as I am. I shall value it the more on the 
'omne ignotum' principle. Nevertheless I do look forward 
much to the diving into its abysses. I can hardly fail to pull 
out and appropriate a jewel or two. 

I was giving a lecture at Sheffield on Monday, on St. Chry- 
sostom, and I had great pleasure in making acquaintance with 
our friend Bradley. 1 . . . 

We, my daughter Mary and I, arrived here last Wednesday. 
The Trenches are old friends, and the visit has been hanging 
over for a long time. I had never before been in Ireland, and 
so far I am agreeably disappointed. Dublin is, to my mind, 
far more of a metropolis than Edinburgh, and there seem to be 
much life and business in the place. I went to the trial of 
Hanlon, one of the conspirators, and was much struck with the 
freedom and calmness with which the witnesses owned to lying. 

Counsel cross-examining : ' Then, when you said that, you 
lied.' Witness (cheerfully), 'I did, sor.' This repeated several 
times during the course of examination. 

Your letter was most apropos. The Archbishop's son is a 
partner with Paul, and the bit of Irish lore created much interest. 

I stay here over Whitsunday to preach in Cathedral. 
1 Henry Bradley, Esq., now joint-editor of The New English Dictionary. 




Brothers and sisters do not often write to one another, I 
fancy, in a general way. They take it for granted that all is 
right, and so leave matters alone till there is a real reason for 
doing so. Birthdays are something of this kind, and are specially 
useful in bringing out old memories and present love. And 
thus, in the midst of a great deal of talk, and some excitement, 
of a very long debate on the old vexed question of the ' Con- 
science Clause,' I am struggling to scribble at the corner of the 
table, sitting all askew, to write a word of birthday greeting. 
We are all growing very old, but somehow we keep pretty 
well together the essence of youth, i.e. vigour and cheeriness. 
(Division is coming, I know not which way it will go. The fight 
is hard. I rather expect to be on the wrong side, because I 
have for once taken what is looked upon as the less Churchy 

line. is very fierce and strong, and the house is rather 

with him in this matter.) We have, I think, much, very much, 
to be thankful for. Sound health is indeed a blessing second to 
none, and in spite of occasional creakiness, we seem to have 
inherited good sound constitutions. I am now two years older 
than my father was when he left us in 1849, and you are as old 
as our grandmother when I first remember her. They seemed 
quite old to us, but I doubt if we should seem so old to the 
young ones. Then it is a great comfort to see the young ones 
growing up good and healthy and right-minded, every one of 
them, settling down into moderate middle life, with conscience 
" void of offence towards God and towards men." And so, I 
think, we shall jog on to the end, and when the call comes, 
be ready to meet it 'without shame,' as Bishop Andrewes calls 
it, ' and if it pleases Him, without pain.' And so our generation 
will have done its work and be called to its rest. . . . 


THE COLLEGE, WORCESTER, March 23, 1884. 

MY DEAREST MOTHER, Hurrah for March ! How well he has 
treated us this year. This fine soft weather, with wind W. and 
S.W., will make up for many other years like, for instance, 1883, 

3io WORCESTER 1881- 

and the long protracted bitterness and misery. Now everything 
is looking bright and genial. Rooks cawing happily as they build 
their nests just opposite to my study window ; spring vegetation 
clean and healthy, fruit trees covered with bloom, March dust 
without its poison. Altogether everything delights the eye and 
ears. People say that we shall pay for this by-and-bye. I do 
not hold by those croakings. You never can calculate in this 
country either on fine or foul weather, and the only plan is 
to be happy when one can, and to let the future take care of 

Last week was tolerably busy in one or other way. On 
Wednesday I preached at a village . . . where the leading 

man Mr. , is one of our great iron-masters. He is an 

excellent Churchman, and a very well informed and interesting 
person. . . . This good Mr. - - has built a church and 
schools for his men at his own expense, and takes immense 
interest in all that concerns their good. He quite laughs at the 
idea of strikes. Living among his men, they realise him as a 
friend, and work cheerily under his directions. It is a wonder- 
ful blessing to a neighbourhood when a man like that is found 
there. On Thursday I was at Upton-on-Severn, a small country 
town about twelve miles from this. It was of some importance 
at the time of the Battle of Worcester. The Cromwellian party 
had to cross the Severn, the cavaliers having broken down 
the bridge. They managed somehow, by crawling on their 
stomachs along the parapet, occupied the church tower, and 
drove the cavaliers back on the road to Worcester. . . . 
Your most loving son, 

W. J. B. 

His mother died, aged 91, on April 4th, 1884. 
This was the last letter of a series written every 
Sunday for a period of more than thirty years. 


4 ADAM STREET, ADELPHI, W.C. Feb. 11, 1885. 

I cannot think how you and others can be so good and 
faithful. I do greatly delight in getting your kind notice of my 
birthday. I do not suppose that I shall have many more 


for my kind friends' greeting. Wantage always must be to me 
the spot in the world in which I feel most interested, and it 
is the greatest blessing out of my many blessings that have 
befallen me in life, that all goes on quite steadily and satis- 
factorily. I may say like St. Paul, though with all reverence 
and humility I planted, another watered, but God giveth the 
increase. Yes, I fully hope to preach to you at Eastertide. 
Though I am growing older, yet my voice has not deserted me. 
It has plenty of practice, I assure you. I have to preach in no 
less than five Cathedrals during the coming Lent. . . . 

An anonymous writer in the Church Times thus 
summed up the impression left by William Butler 
on the Cathedral and city of Worcester : 

When Canon Butler of Wantage, most energetic among men, 
was appointed to Worcester, the preaching power of the Cathedral 
was materially strengthened. Many an eloquent, manly, and 
downright sermon have we heard from his lips. He threw him- 
self heart and soul into the improvement of the services, especially 
with regard to the more reverent and devotional Celebrations 
each Sunday and Saints' day in the year. He preached right and 
left in the diocese with all the vigour and strength of a man 
carrying but half his years, not knowing, apparently, what ill- 
health or weakness meant. In the matter also of the voluntary 
choir for the Sunday evening services in the nave Canon Butler 
recognised a valuable means of obtaining a firmer hold over men, 
co-operating cordially in the movement. Now that he is Dean of 
Lincoln there are many who look back with gratitude to his 
work in Worcester. It was suggested in the early days of the 
Salvation Army movement to Canon Butler the advisability 
of attempting to grapple with the new force, with the object of 
diverting the singular organisation into orthodox channels. 
With characteristic energy he at once condemned the idea. It is 
impossible, he said, for the fundamental principles are opposed to 
Church doctrine ; their fierce and dangerous enthusiasm could 
never be made to harmonise with our system, and any attempt 
to accomplish this must fail. 

In May, 1885, the Deanery of Lincoln was offered 

312 WORCESTER 1881- 

to him by Mr. Gladstone. Curiously enough, on this 
occasion also he was abroad, taking his holiday in 
North Italy, and the letter lay about ten days or a 
fortnight at Worcester. The contents of the letter 
were telegraphed to him, and he returned at once to 
England. He paid a short visit to the Bishop of 
Lincoln, an old friend of many years' standing in 
the Oxford diocese, and satisfied himself that his 
acceptance of the post would not render it necessary 
for him to sever his connexion with the Wantage 
Sisterhood. Here are two of his letters in answer 
to the kind expressions of friends on his new 
preferment : 

W. J. B. TO 

ST. MARY'S HOME, St. Barnabas Day, 1885. 

Thank you and your father also for your kind words. Do not 
however congratulate me, but pray for me. Church appoint- 
ments involve very serious responsibility, and certainly Lincoln 
Cathedral not least of all. I would not have accepted it if it 
would have separated me from Wantage. This was the main 
difficulty. But when I came to talk over the matter with the 
Bishop and the Canons, I found that practically I could be here 
as much as ever, or even more so. A Dean's residence is quite 
undefined, though a Canon's is not. ... I have been so lovingly 
greeted by the Lincoln people that I feel already at home 
there. . . . 


THE MEAD, WANTAGE, June 12, 1885. 

Thank you for your kind words and all your affection and 
kindly thought of me. It has been a matter of very serious con- 
sideration whether I should accept this charge of the Lincoln 
Deanery. I have lived so long in the ' West countree ' that 
eastern voices and ways are strange to me though at one time 
Middlesex, Hertfordshire, and Essex were my natural habitat. 


But the great question was that of severance from the Wantage 
Sisters, and it was not until I had ascertained that I could hold 
on there that I allowed my name to be gazetted. After long 
talk with the Bishop and the Chapter, both of whom received me 
most warmly, ... I found that there is little, if any more, diffi- 
culty than I have at present, in keeping my charge here. Of 
course I shall resign everything else, as Rural Deanery, Chap- 
laincy of the Berks Forces, etc., and so far lighten the ship. . . . 

He was not allowed to leave Worcester without 
some recognition of his work from the inhabitants 
of the city. A circular letter was put forth by the 
Dean and the Mayor, of which this is a portion : 

WORCESTER, August, 1885. 

It has been thought that the friends of the Rev. Canon 
Butler, who has recently been preferred to the Deanery of 
Lincoln, would gladly avail themselves of the opportunity to 
join in some permanent memorial of his work and zeal for 
good in this city and diocese during his five years' connexion 
with the Cathedral Chapter. The earnestness with which Dean 
Butler has laboured amongst us to maintain the highest pur- 
poses of our Cathedral service, to foster relations of increasing 
sympathy between the Cathedral and municipal bodies, to 
promote the institution and insure the success of the High 
school for girls ; added to the deep personal esteem which 
he has inspired in numbers by the self-sacrifice and sympathetic 
devotion of his life and character, have suggested not alone 
the necessity for some memorial, but that it should take a 
form which, while being personally acceptable, might per- 
manently connect the memory of his work with a Worcester 
institution, which he did so much to found and perfect, and 
in the success of which he is known to be deeply interested. 

It is therefore proposed to form a Reference Library at 
the High school for the use of the teaching staff and the 
pupils, the books being placed and preserved in a suitable 
case, a tablet on which may prominently connect the library 
with Dean Butler's name. 

It is also hoped that it may be found possible to present 

314 WORCESTER 1881- 

for the Dean's personal acceptance an illuminated address 
containing the subscribers' names. 

On December 16th the address was presented to 
him by his old friend Lord Beauchamp. He 
replied : 

Lord Beauchamp, ladies, and gentlemen, While most gratefully 
accepting this token of your extreme kindness, I am compelled 
to say that, in some sense, you have placed me in a false position. 
I feel as if in some sense I stand before you this afternoon as 
an impostor. I cannot for a moment venture to take to myself 
the kind expressions which are conveyed to me in this testi- 
monial. I can only assure you that I have had most earnestly 
at heart the welfare of this school and city, and whatever 
little work I have been able to do has been more than repaid 
by the kind regard you have accorded me. But I cannot for 
a moment imagine that such a school as this depends in any 
sense on me. I am sure if I had never been Canon of 
Worcester, or even if I had never existed at all, a school of 
this kind must have been formed in the city. It is impossible 
to suppose that in a city so conspicuous for its intelligence, its 
cultivation, and its patriotism, the very brightest jewels the 
precious pearls I may call them the sweet young maidens 
who are growing up among us would have been left without 
the very best kind of education which this country could 
possibly afford. Therefore I simply feel myself as one who 
has just pulled the trigger of a mine already laid; or, if I 
may take something of a Worcester comparison, as one who 
just touches the ripe fruit, and it falls without effort to the 
ground. I may say that the kindness and confidence with 
which I have been treated in the effort I did make to suggest 
this school to the city, more than repaid me for any anxiety 
I may have felt. I should like to be allowed to repeat what 
I have said on a previous occasion, that I believe there is no 
place in England where any public effort is so admirably met 
as it is in this city of Worcester. There is less of that wretched 
petty jealousy which so often cramps people's attempts ; there 
is so little of that political or religious antagonism which we 
find in so many places, that any one who has any work of 


good to do in this city may certainly expect to be heartily 
and kindly met. Let me say one word as to that which 
especially delights me as I look upon this school. It has 
been our own voluntary effort. By our own personal exertions 
we have done this work ourselves; and as I look on this 
beautiful room, as I think of the excellent scholastic machinery 
we have around us, as I think of that splendid staff of mistresses 
who are teaching your children, and as I think of the results 
which we are seeing year after year springing forth from this 
school, it does seem to me that we have here that which I 
very much desire to see everywhere, a firm and consistent 
setting forth of what voluntary effort can do. I believe in 
voluntary effort. I believe it to be consistent with the whole 
character of the people of this country. We hear in other 
countries of wonderful State institutions, of schools and other 
institutions of the same kind manipulated from headquarters; 
but in England we do everything ourselves. Our hospitals 
are our own work; our Church it is true that some people 
may call it State-supported, but those who know better know 
it is nothing of the land. Our army is a great voluntary 
institution, and we know that when there was some danger 
to this country from the vapouring French colonels, 250,000 
Volunteers started up to oppose the foe. So it is with our 
schools. It is somewhat the fashion in some quarters to 
desire to introduce that manipulating system ; but I only hope 
that I shall never see it done. It is true that sometimes 
voluntary effort begins somewhat clumsily ; but in voluntary 
effort there is heart and will, and after all that is the great 
thing which gives it spirit and life and genuineness. There- 
fore I trust we shall never see voluntary effort suppressed in 
this country by the action of Boards in London, Commissions, 
or anything of that sort. We have seen something of that, 
and the evil of it; attempts for instance to deal with the 
arrangements of land; attempts to interfere between masters 
and men; and others are threatened, though I trust we shall 
never see anything of that sort. This school is a clear token 
to everybody how voluntary effort can send forth its work 
better, more reasonably, and more lovingly done, than any 
Board or Commission. I thank you with all my heart for the 
kindness with which you have received me, not only to-day, 

316 WORCESTER 1881- 

but for all the many, many kindnesses, all the love and affection 
and confidence which I have received during the time I was 
resident among you. It is a great grief, I do assure you, to 
leave you, and I can only say this, that Worcester, this fair 
city and its lovely Cathedral, and certainly this most charming 
school of yours, will ever find a place in the very warmest 
affections of my heart. 

Although he held the canonry for so short a time, 
his strenuous character and his large sympathies did 
not fail to make a deep impression on Worcester. 
This was expressed in a letter from a citizen of 
Worcester, written on the occasion of the Canon's 
appointment to the Deanery of Lincoln : 

I am very glad for Lincoln ! but the faithful city cannot 
take a quite unselfish view of your removal. Although I felt 
well convinced that you would leave us if the call of duty came 
with sufficient clearness and emphasis, the definite acceptance of 
the idea of separation is not perhaps the less painful on that 
account. You had come to work so good an influence amongst 
us our Church, our municipal life our external life altogether 
were feeling more and more the benefit of your zealous work 
for truth and high principle, that to those of us who know how 
much this goodly city needs the comfort of such influences, your 
removal is more than ordinary painful. 

As to the High school, I do not quite know where we are to 
look for the steadfast faith and enthusiasm with which you began 
and have carried on that great work to its perfect end. That, how- 
ever, will remain as a link still to connect Lincoln with Worcester. 
Of course to very many of us your removal will mean a sharper 
wrench still, because a personal one. Those who have been 
permitted, as I have, to a share of your deep, loving, and affec- 
tionate sympathy, and know how great that sympathy was even 
for one's everyday difficulties, will continue to hope that you have 
been long enough with us to leave, when you go, some portion of 
your large heart behind. 

And to the no less deep and lasting impression 


made upon the clergy of the diocese, touching testi- 
mony was borne after his death nearly nine years 
later, when an eye-witness related how " at the 
Diocesan Societies' meeting one after another got up 
to express a sense of deep personal loss, and of the 
blessing he had been to Worcester." 

He was installed Dean at Lincoln, 15th July, 
1885, and on the 26th November following was 
made D.D. at Cambridge, jure dignitatis, as he 
considered that for the dignity of the cathedral the 
Dean should hold that degree, and therefore took it 
as a matter of principle. 


[THE REV. A. R. MADDISON, Priest- Vicar in Lincoln 
Cathedral, who from the earliest days of William 
Butler's residence in Lincoln was thrown much into 
contact with him, has contributed the greater part 
of the chapters dealing with the last nine years of 
the Dean's life.] 

Dean Butler came from a Cathedral of the new 
foundation to a Cathedral of the old. After a life 
spent in a country parish he had in 1881 found 
himself in a Cathedral city where he had much to 
learn. As Canon of Worcester he threw himself 
heartily into every work, and made it his business 
to draw city and Cathedral together. At Lincoln 
he found another Cathedral with a different history 
and character. He found himself invested with 
authority as Dean, but with no one able to say 
precisely to what limits the authority extended. His 
very residence as Dean was undefined. Eight 
months in the year he was bound to be resident, 
but the terms of the residence were not stated. 

There are topographical difficulties too at Lincoln 
which have been generally cited as obstacles to any 


cordial unanimity between the Cathedral and the 
city. * Above ' and ' Below hill ' are terms sig- 
nificant of a line of demarcation and two populations. 
The Cathedral has no parochial jurisdiction. The 
city itself, although the capital of the county, is very 
unfavourably situated as a centre. The service of 
trains is not convenient. Proud as Lincolnshire 
people might be of their Minster, they certainly 
did not regard Lincoln as a Yorkshireman does York. 
Grantham, Boston, Stamford, and Louth had their 
separate interests and agencies. The Cathedral 
clergy were looked upon by the parochial clergy as 
separate from themselves. The Cathedral services 
might be admired for their musical effect, but any 
attempt to represent the Cathedral as a spiritual 
force and activity would have been received some 
few years ago with a smile. 

Dean Butler came with the heart and the lifelong 
experience of a parish priest. His great aim and 
object was to utilise the machinery he found ready 
to his hand. He found a vast Cathedral with only 
one Celebration of Holy Communion on a Sunday, 
closed and unused from five P.M. on Sunday to the 
following morning, and one of the very first things 
he did was to provide an early as well as a late 
Celebration every Sunday. He never rested till he 
established a Sunday evening service. His parochial 
instinct showed itself in the care he bestowed on the 
workmen employed in the Cathedral. He sought 
them out and brought them to Confirmation and 
the Holy Communion. He was in thorough sym- 

320 LINCOLN 1885- 

pathy with the parochial clergy. He made it known 
that he would be always willing, if he possibly 
could, to help those who were hard pressed on 
Sundays. He did all he could to bring together 
the Cathedral and the city. He cultivated friendly 
relations with the leading citizens, and threw him- 
self heartily into the welfare of institutions such as 
the School of Art, which he held to be a valuable 
influence on the manners and characters of the people. 
He was never deterred by religious or political 
differences from co-operating in any good work with 
those who were not like-minded with himself, and he 
earned the title which was given him, in a letter 
written after his death, of a ' kindly citizen.' 

Education, it is needless to say, still occupied his 
thoughts, as it had all his life, and he took the 
deepest interest in the Grammar school, and also 
in the school where the Cathedral choir boys were 
taught and boarded. 

So much may be taken as a sort of summary of 
Dean Butler's life at Lincoln, but no one could gather 
from it a true conception of the work he was engaged 
in. What one of his colleagues said of him shortly 
after his death is literally true : " The Dean has lived 
another life and done another work." While he 
worked hard as Dean of Lincoln, he was working 
equally hard as head of a great religious organisation, 
the Wantage Sisterhood. And the work involved 
in this it is difficult to estimate. Hardly a day 
passed without bringing him letters connected with 
it. His frequent journeys to Wantage and to other 


places where branches of the Sisterhood were estab- 
lished, of which we used sometimes to complain, 
as they took him so much away from Lincoln, were 
enough to have taxed the strength of a younger 
man. How he did it, how he contrived to preserve 
his wonderful vigour and freshness through it all, 
will ever be a marvel. 

In trying to give a sketch of his Lincoln life, I am 
obliged to put it mainly into the form of personal 
reminiscences. Circumstances threw me much in his 
company, and the materials are lacking for a syste- 
matic detailed account, for there are not so many 
letters available for biographical purposes as in the 
earlier part of his life. 

He found a good deal to do on coming to Lincoln, 
for he had his own opinion as to what a Cathedral 
should be, and Lincoln fell very short of it. 

But his powers were limited. He indeed in- 
herited great traditional prestige as Dean of Lincoln ; 
but he found that practically he had only the 
power to obstruct. He could not initiate any legis- 
lation for the Cathedral without the unanimous con- 
sent of his colleagues, although he could effectually 
stop any himself. Such was the change from the 
mediaeval Dean whose title was Dominus Decanus, 
and who enjoyed the privilege of a train-bearer 
within the close, to the modern Dean whose rights 
(as he was informed before leaving Worcester) were 
merely ' those which the Common Law gave him.' 

A letter from one of his oldest and most intimate 
friends, who happened to spend a Sunday at Lincoln 

322 LINCOLN 1885- 

shortly before Dean Butler took up his residence 
there, somewhat prepared him for what he would 
find. It is full of good humoured criticism, and 
after detailing various points where improvements 
seemed needful, it sums up with the remark that 
" the worshipping arrangements of the congregation 
seriously cry out for the application of a little good 
feeling and common sense." 

Dean Butler could not but be struck with the 
poverty and meagre decorations of the altar, coming 
as he did from Worcester, where costly gifts had 
been offered for the sanctuary. Certainly Lincoln 
Cathedral could not match with any ordinary well- 
cared-for parish church. There was but one altar 
cloth, a red one, which did duty all the year round. 
The altar table itself was a poor thing, furnished 
merely with two brass candlesticks containing candles 
which were never lighted. A sanctuary carpet 
worked by ladies of the county in 1847, could not 
be termed a thing of beauty, although age had toned 
down the brilliancy of its colours. 

The altar rails had been moved eastward from 
their original position in order to give more sitting 
accommodation, but with the result that the space 
within the sanctuary was cramped and confined. It 
cannot be wondered at that he felt the change, or 
that his first Christmas Day was not a very happy 
one. He saw much he wished to alter, and the 
question was how it could be done. 

I may here without impropriety say that the Dean 
always bore cordial witness to the kindness of his 


colleagues, without whose consent no change could 
have been effected. The changes were considerable, 
not only in minor details such as have been enumer- 
ated, but also in the multiplication of services. 

The Sunday evening service at 6.30 was one of 
the principal changes. This he set his heart on from 
the very first. He had found it at Worcester and 
was resolved to have it at Lincoln. He made him- 
self absolutely responsible for the expenses connected 
with it, and although fortunately the offertories 
covered the greater part of the cost, leaving him 
only a small amount to defray, it is well that this 
should be known for he did not speak about it. 
Neither should it be forgotten that, so far from using 
the Cathedral pulpit on Sunday evenings for the 
display of his own preaching powers, he only re- 
served one Sunday in each month for himself, 
leaving the lion's share to the canon in resi- 

As hard things were said about him which he 
did not deserve, I think it only just to let this also 
be known. Undoubtedly the Sunday evening service 
was an innovation, and it was only natural that it 
should affect at first the congregations of parish 
churches which had hitherto had Sunday evening 
entirely to themselves ; but he could not accept this 
as a valid reason why the Cathedral should be shut 
up for so many hours when multitudes could be 
attracted by a bright musical service in the nave. 
He argued that the ordinary steady church-going 
people would not desert their parish churches, while 

324 LINCOLN 1885- 

the shifting element of congregations might just as 
well be drawn to the Cathedral. 

Of course this multiplication of services entailed 
increased work on the executive staff. The Celebra- 
tions of Holy Communion were much more frequent. 
He was himself entirely responsible for the one at 
seven A.M. on the great festivals and the first Sunday 
of each month, and it was my privilege to be able 
to assist him, as it did not in any way interfere 
with my own parochial duty. I have often thought 
that those who saw him then saw him at his best. 
The congregation was one after his own heart, mainly 
composed of workmen employed in the Cathedral, 
and domestic servants within the close ; and none 
who was present can forget the wonderful earnest- 
ness with which he used to give a short address 
immediately after the Nicene Creed on these occa- 
sions ; words full of pith and vigour, driven home 
into the hearts of his hearers, uttered without notes, 
and yet always concise and connected. Once a 
quarter the Church of England Working Men's 
Society used to attend and swell the numbers 
very considerably, yet all would be over before eight 
o'clock, when a Celebration followed at the altar in 
the choir. 

He was wonderfully rapid in his utterance, and yet 
perfectly distinct and reverent. On one occasion 
when by accident he was alone at the seven o'clock 
Celebration and there were more than seventy 
communicants, he had concluded the service by 


Another addition he made to the services was a 
short address on Saints' days and festivals given 
after evensong in the retrochoir. The last words 
he ever uttered in the Cathedral were heard at one 
of these a few days before his death. But one 
change which he effected after he had been at 
Lincoln some little time, brought upon him a good 
deal of censure, although his object was simply to 
relieve the clergy and people from what was thought 
a wearisome length of service. On Sundays matins 
in the Cathedral choir consisted of course of a full 
choral service, with anthem, litany, and introit, and 
a sermon, which, preached by a prebendary in his 
turn, did not as a rule incline to brevity ; then a 
Celebration of Holy Communion. Frequently the 
clock struck twelve before the Nicene Creed was 
finished, and very often a congregation which went 
in at half-past ten did not leave the Cathedral till 
past one. The question arose how it could be 
shortened. No one had the power to limit the 
sermon, and the precentor was expected to provide 
on Sundays a musical service superior to those on 
ordinary week days, and consequently of greater 

Dean Butler thereupon proposed to remove the 
litany from the morning to the afternoon, and in 
place of evensong at four in the choir, to have the 
litany with an anthem and hymn at that hour in 
the nave. He contended that as evensong was now 
sung in the nave at half-past six, it was not needful 
to have it as well in the choir at four. Of course 


the removal of the litany, and having the shortened 
form of matins, ending at the third collect, greatly 
reduced the length of the services, but the Dean 
came in for a considerable amount of censure ; he 
was accused of creating * fancy services,' which 
any one who knew him would know was the last 
thing he was likely to do. Many who had repeatedly 
cried out against the length of the morning service 
now affected to regard the disappearance of the 
four o'clock evensong as a positive spiritual priva- 
tion, and remonstrances, not always of the gentlest 
nature, poured in upon him. He however held 
firm to his purpose and effected it, though the oppo- 
sition surprised him, and seemed to him, considering 
the circumstances, unreasonable. 

I have dwelt rather at length on these points, 
because they illustrate Dean Butler's mind as regards 
the use of Cathedrals. He was never weary of saying 
that in these days public opinion would not tolerate 
such institutions unless they were put to a thorough 
practical use. He was much amused, and I think 
rather gratified, to hear that some one had compared 
Lincoln Cathedral on Sundays to Clapham Junction, 
on account of the rapid succession of services ; and in 
a letter to the Spectator, in answer to a rather deprec- 
iatory criticism of Deans and Cathedrals, he says : 

In one Cathedral with which I am best acquainted the Sunday 
services are as follows : Holy Communion, eight ; matins, followed 
by Holy Communion and sermon, 10.30; sermon without sen-ice, 
three; litany and anthem, four; evensong and sermon, 6.30. 
I do not see how much more than this can be got into the day. 



Something must be said of the wonderful trans- 
formation which he effected in the appearance of the 
sanctuary. Any one who can recall the former 
condition of things will appreciate the change. He 
never rested till a more suitable and dignified altar 
had been set up, 1 and by degrees he procured a set 
of frontals for the different seasons, as well as a 
proper supply of altar linen. Personal gifts came 
in, such as vases and candlesticks, and the students 
of the Bishop's Hostel gave a splendid cross. The 
altar rails were moved westward to their original 
position, and Persian carpets took the place of the 
ladies' handiwork, which now is in the Lady Chapel 
at the east end of the retrochoir. He used some- 
times to reckon up with positive glee the cost of the 
various gifts and improvements, and rejoice that 
there was nothing now mean, cheap, or shabby in 
the adornment of the sanctuary. One more change 
must be mentioned, for it was very characteristic 
of him. He noticed that the prebendaries and 
priest-vicars very seldom had an opportunity of 
celebrating the Holy Communion, and, indeed, up 
to his coming their services were not likely to be 
required by a Dean and four residentiary Canons 
when there was only one Celebration on a Sunday. 
He therefore arranged for a weekly Celebration on 
Thursdays at eight A.M., for which a rota of pre- 
bendaries and priest-vicars was responsible. This 

a The new altar was set in its place on February 10, 1888, and 
he came into the Deanery saying he had kept his seventieth birthday 
by helping the workmen to lift up the great marble slab. 

328 LINCOLN 1885- 

was held at the altar under the great east window 
in the Lady Chapel, and he never missed attending 
it if in Lincoln, as a simple worshipper in his 
cassock, only putting on a surplice when his services 
were needed. 

Turning from the Cathedral to the city, it will be 
well to hear Canon Fowler's recollections, who, as 
head master of the Lincoln Grammar school, was 
frequently brought in contact with the Dean. 

Dean Butler was singularly happy in his relations with the 
citizens of Lincoln of all denominations ; that Church people 
should have looked up to him, and not only reverenced him, 
but loved him, is natural ; but the affectionate regard for his 
memory which has been, and is now shown by the non- 
comformists of the city, speaks, as nothing else could speak; 
of that true charity and willingness to recognise good work 
of any kind, which were among the noticeable traits of his 
character. No man could have been a more staunch upholder 
of Church principles, no man could have been more opposed 
to the spirit of Dissent, but he knew exactly where to draw 
the line, and kept strictly to it. While, on the one hand, he 
abstained from anything that might seem in the least degree 
an yielding of a vital point, while he was quite ready to maintain 
his views in language which from its evident sincerity and 
the kindness of its expression, never gave permanent offence ; 
yet on the other, he avoided that petty and vexatious opposi- 
tion which tends so largely to embitter the relations between 
Churchmen and Dissenters. Perhaps in the city of Lincoln he 
found this an easier matter than he might have done elsewhere, 
for there are few towns in which the members of various 
denominations are more inclined to 'agree to differ,' and to 
live together in a friendly spirit; this is, in great measure, 
due to the veneration felt by all for the Minster, which is 
regarded by the whole body of citizens as belonging personally 
to each individual, and to be, as it were, outside the region of 
denominationalism ; partly, perhaps we may allow, it was this 
very feeling that drew Dean Butler towards the nonconformists, 


for to love the Minster, and to take an interest in its services, 
was a sure way to his heart; but on the other hand it must 
not be forgotten that it was Dean Butler's own action in 
extending the usefulness of the Minster by establishing the 
largely-attended evening services, and by the personal interest 
which he took in the congregations as shown by his strong, 
direct yet simple sermons, that largely increased the affectionate 
feelings of the citizens towards the Cathedral. 

As an instance of what has been said above, we may perhaps 
mention the lecture on 'Alfred the Great,' which he delivered 
to a nonconformist audience at the hall attached to the Newland 
Independent Chapel, which was very much appreciated by those 
who heard it, both on account of its interest, and still more 
perhaps on account of the kindly spirit in which it was given. 

Dean Butler took a leading part in the erection of the present 
Lincoln School of Science and Art, and also in the Lincolnshire 
Exhibition in the Jubilee year, which accompanied its opening ; 
and he was also a strong supporter of the Free Library movement 
which has been since crowned with success. While at Wantage 
he always took a great interest in the Volunteer movement, and 
for many years he was chaplain to the Berkshire Volunteers ; 
he continued this interest at Lincoln, and used regularly to 
entertain the officers of the Lincoln companies, with whom he 
was very popular. 

In" all matters connected with the education of the city he 
was always to the fore, and it need hardly be said how strongly 
he felt with regard to the maintenance of the voluntary system ; 
had he lived, nothing would have given him greater pleasure 
than the successful issue of the efforts of the Subdean and the 
educational committee, by which we may hope that the 
voluntary system has been preserved for Lincoln for many 
years to come. 

At no time in the history of the city have the relations 
between the corporation and the Cathedral been more satis- 
factory ; this has by no means always been the case, for at 
times in the past the feelings of the two bodies towards each 
other have been unequivocally hostile. Dean Butler, in his 
speeches as well as by his action, always emphasised the 
necessity of the preservation of amicable relations between the 
Minster and the civic authorities. It has been said that it 

330 LINCOLN 1885- 

was he who initiated the desirable state of affairs which exists 
at present; this is hardly true, for much was done by the 
late Archbishop of Canterbury, when Chancellor, and by other 
members of the Chapter, and the two bodies have been for 
years drawing closer together. There can, however, be no 
doubt that by his geniality and straightforwardness he helped 
very greatly to remove any old feelings of soreness, and that 
it is to the late Dean and to the present Bishop that the 
mutual regard now existing between the Cathedral and the 
city is largely due. 

Much more might be said with regard to Dean Butler's 
public connexion with the citizens of Lincoln; nothing failed 
to interest him and call forth his support, which appeared to 
him as likely to benefit the city of his adoption. We must not, 
however, forget his private relations with individuals ; he had 
a keen eye for character, and any man who did his work as 
he ought, whether with hand or head, was made to feel that 
he had a friend to whom he might go for help and advice at 
any time. How people of all sorts and conditions regarded 
him was clearly shown at his funeral, at which the Minster 
was crowded with high and low, rich and poor, who by their 
evident sorrow expressed the deep sense of personal loss which 
was felt by all with whom he had been brought at all closely 
into contact. In this short notice, it is not for me to speak 
of the inner life of the Deanery; but the kindly hospitality 
and warm welcome ever accorded by the Dean and his family, 
are still fresh in the hearts of many. A Cathedral city is 
always reputed to be exclusive, and it was one of the late 
Dean's great desires to break this exclusiveness down, and to 
bring people more closely together. 

As I am only touching briefly upon a partial side of the 
Dean's life in Lincoln, I must not write more. All through 
his life, in things secular as well as sacred, his watchword 
was ' Thorough ' ; wherever he found thoroughness and sincerity, 
he was ever ready to recognise and encourage good work, even 
though he might not agree with the result aimed at; hence 
his success in dealing with his parishioners and his fellow- 
townsmen. Whatsoever his hand found to do, he did it with 
his might ; yet with his simple rugged and loving nature, he 
if any man, felt that the might was that of his Lord and 


Master, and that the smallest as well as the greatest efforts 
of his life were dependent upon Him alone. 

I have said that letters illustrating Dean Butler's 
life at Lincoln are not so plentiful as at other periods. 
His work of course was very different from that at 
Wantage, and he had not so much to construct as to 
quicken and stimulate. His great refreshment was 
his annual six weeks' holiday, which until the last 
year of his life he spent abroad. He enjoyed travel- 
ling intensely. Nothing seemed to escape his eye ; 
and on looking through his letters written to me 
during these tours I am astonished at the wonderful 
descriptive power displayed, as well as the minuteness 
of detail. 

In August, 1886, he wTote from Tyrol, and after 
telling me that "so far all is better than well," 
he adds, " We have many a good laugh to help 
digestion, and no lack of topics for conversation. 
We could not stand ' table d'h6te ' meals, and gene- 
rally contrive to get a separate table, where good 
behaviour is not ' de rigueur.' ' 

I think that the Dean's light-heartedness helped 
to keep him so fresh through his laborious life. A 
holiday to him was a real pleasure. I remember the 
first Easter Monday he was at Lincoln, how he 
enjoyed giving himself a holiday from his letters, 
and making a complete tour of the Cathedral an 
enjoyment as simple and unaffected as that of a 
schoolboy released from lessons. 

In July and August, 1887, he wrote from Switzer- 
land. He was staying for a week or two at Vevey, 

332 LINCOLN 1885- 

which he found " very hot" and the " air oppressive " ; 
and, he adds, " religion in these parts seems to be 
quite a secondary matter, very unlike Tyrol where 
churches and shrines meet you everywhere. Protest- 
antism is entirely dead in Germany and Switzerland." 

Shortly after, he writes from Grindelwald. I 
suppose that I had been mentioning some plan of 
going abroad early in the following year, for he says, 
" I hope that you will be able to make your visit 
to Pau after Christmas, so long as you clear Lent. 
Perhaps I am over-sensitive about Lent and Holy 
Week. But it always appears to me inconsistent 
with our profession as priests to be larking about 
the world and amusing ourselves at these special 
times. My practice has always been one good 
holiday. Five Sundays was the length of my tether 
once a year, and perhaps a little run, the inside of 
a week, in the form of a visit to my mother or 
some relations, after Christmas and Easter, when I was 
tolerably used up." 

In May, 1889, he wrote from Florence: "We 
eased our journey by stopping at Laon, which is 
reached at 7.30 P.M. There is a good deal to see 
there of one or other kind, and Mr. Waddington, 
the French Ambassador, whom I had met there 
before, took us into the French Conseil General of 
the Department, which is interesting just now when 
we are introducing the same system into England. 
The speakers, to my surprise, were much quieter 
than our folk, and delivered their sentiments sitting. 
It was frightfully dull." 


In the spring of 1890 he wrote to me from Siena 
and Florence. He delighted in the pictures, especi- 
ally those of the Sienese school, and says, " I still 
enjoy the Sienese painters' reverence and simplicity, 
and I seem to learn more from this school than from 
any other. But it cannot be denied that in force and 
colouring the Florentines have the palm." 

He visited Pisa and its Campo Santo, Cathedral, 
and Leaning Tower, " up which I clambered for the 
first time." 

He ends his letter : " Will you kindly look in at 
the Deanery some day and see how my old butler 
is. I heard a poor account of him, and I am always 
afraid of his passing away without spiritual help." 
This was Charles Page, an old servant to whom the 
Dean was much attached. He was in his service as a 
youth before the Dean went to Wantage. He died 
within a few months of completing fifty years of faith- 
ful service, the year before the death of his master, 
who was away from Lincoln at the time, and I was 
sent for to minister to him. The Dean returned just 
in time to see him still alive and conscious. 

In April, 1891, the Dean met with a serious 
accident. He had arranged to go abroad directly 
after Easter with two of his daughters. They were 
at the Charing Cross station, their tickets taken, and 
everything ready for a start. The Dean had gone 
to a book shop in the neighbourhood, and while re- 
turning to the station was knocked down by a cab 
and had his left arm broken. It is very characteristic 
of him that directly he rose from the ground he said, 

334 LINCOLN 1885- 

" Take that man's number." He at once told them 
to take him to the nearest hospital, where his daugh- 
ters found him shortly after. It was a severe dis- 
appointment to be balked of his pleasant holiday, 
but he was not one who fretted against the inevit- 
able. The following letters (written in pencil) to 
Sir Charles Anderson, an old friend whom he greatly 
valued, and to his sister, describe the situation : 


fourth letter that I have attempted to achieve, so that you will 
understand that it was from necessity or incapacity only that 
your very kind letter has been so long left unanswered. It 
cheered me very much. This is a strange, but really not an 
unpleasant experience. The kindness and skill of the doctors 
and nurses are quite extraordinary. I tell every one that I 
have fallen into a nest of angels. I have comparatively little 
pain, and all the arrangements here are of the best kind. I 
have a very pleasant private room, and Mrs. Butler and my 
daughters are here the greatest part of the day. Many old 
friends visit me, and on the whole I begin to think myself 
rather a humbug, as if I had invited the accident for the 
purpose of extracting sympathy. But I must own that to find 
oneself with the heels of a horse close to one's head, and the 
wheel of a hansom cab close to one's body, is not a delightful 



It seems unnatural not to have written to you before, but 
I write under difficulties and one long stream of kind friends, 
day after day, have absorbed the time. 

This is a strange reversal of hopes and plans, but I do not 
grudge it, for it has brought me into contact with a whole 
body of the kindest and most unselfish people that I ever met. 
This hospital is very well managed, and there is a tone of 
refinement everywhere, from the splendid woman who commands 


the institution down to the youngest probationer. The surgeons 
too are, I believe, considered very skilful, and most attentive. 
So that all things considered I have every reason to be very 
thankful. I have moreover a very pleasant room, and so many 
flowers arrive that I am able to benefit some of my neighbours. 

Still of course this must be a long affair. I allow four 
months before I am able to enjoy life once more. At present I 
cannot unbutton a wristband, crack an egg, or wind up a 

We hope to settle ourselves on Monday at 19 Sussex 
Gardens. One of the nurses goes with us, for without such 

help I can do nothing. My arm is in a plaster of Paris case a 

most unpleasant experience. . . . 

I saw him in the hospital, and he was full of 
interest in the nurses and their spiritual welfare. 
He was giving copies of the Christian Year to 
some, and spoke with the utmost warmth of the 
kindness he had met with from the hospital staff. 
After he left the hospital he wrote a letter to the 
Times, strongly urging the claims of the hospital 
for support. 

I received what he calls his " first ink- written 
letter," dated April 27. He had moved into a 
friend's house, and although his arm did not then 
pain him so much, he suffered much from coughing 
at night ; but he adds, " Certainly I have that 
solace which Shakespeare suggests for old age, 'troops 
of friends.' " 

His delayed holiday was taken in August. He 
went to Normandy, and I had letters from him 
from Rouen, Bayeux, and Falaise. 

Writing from Rouen, August 10, he says : 

It is very amusing to me to find myself here. In the 

336 LINCOLN 1885- 

year 1840 I came to this place, having just taken my degree, 
when railways were almost unknown on the continent, and 
one had to travel to Paris in a diligence. . . . Afterwards I 
came to Rouen in 1843, a few days after my marriage, and 
about this time of year, once since, in 1858, when we made 
our first expedition into Brittany. . . . Two of the Wantage 
sisters met us with a retinue of schoolgirls, whom they are 
taking to various parts for a holiday trip. They had made 
acquaintance with the Cure of S. Ouen who had been most 
polite, and showed them about. He quite understood our 
position ecclesiastically, and wrote for them to the Mother 
Superior of the Sisters of "S. Vincent de Paul, to whom he 
introduced them. I rather hope to see him, and get from 
him some idea of the real condition of things in France. 

On the 18th August he wrote from Bayeux : 

I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of the 
Cure of S. Ouen. 1 . . . He is a most agreeable and intelligent 
man. One of the few who really understand and enter into 
the Anglican position. ' H n'y a qu un cheveu entre nous.' And 
when we parted he loaded us with good photographs." 

At Falaise, on August 27, he writes : 

On Tuesday we did well ; we took a carriage from Avranches 
and drove to Mt. S. Michel. The day was cold but quite 
sunny and bright, and we saw that wonderful place to great 
advantage. On the whole I think it the most striking building 
in Europe. . . . We have been roaming over the Castle of 
Falaise and took refuge from a storm in the bedroom of 
Arlette mother of Wm. Conquestor. ... I lament over the 
death of Mr. Raikes. He was one of the few M.P.'s on whom 
all the Church could depend. 

In 1892 he again visited France. He wrote from 
Fontainebleau, July 13 : 

We are just opposite the old historical Chateau full of 
memories of kings and queens, and 'mistresses' such as Diane 
of Poitiers, for whose honour or dishonour Henry II. built a 
splendid salon. 

^e visited the Dean at Lincoln in the summer of 1893. 


This was the last of his foreign trips. In 1893 
he went to Scotland. I am indebted to an intimate 
friend of his for the following account of the days he 
spent in his company : 

I remember the Dean coming to me and saying that he was 
thinking of going to Scotland for his holidays, and asking for 
information about the West Coast, as he thought of going north 
instead of, as usual, to the continent. He said that owing 
to Mrs. Butler's health he did not like to leave her, and that 
she was not strong enough to go abroad. I recommended him 
to the immediate neighbourhood of Fort William, and from my 
description of the locality he said it was just what he wanted. 
Shortly afterwards he went there with Mrs. Butler, one of his 
daughters, and a granddaughter. Some fortnight or three 
weeks later I followed him with some of my family. I found 
him delighted with the beautiful country, the equally beautiful 
church, and the people. It was wonderful how quickly he had 
made friends with all classes. A few days later we moved on 
together to Spean Bridge, where we were due to pay a visit 
to some old friends, the Dean and his party going to the hotel 
there. As our friends, however, knew the Butlers (having met 
them at Lincoln), we still saw a great deal of them ; and the Dean 
entered thoroughly into all that was going on, walking with 
us when shooting, and joining us on the river. 

One day he started walking with us at ten o'clock, and al- 
though the day was very hot and the ground rough, he walked 
as well as the best; and at lunch on high ground over 1500 
feet he was quite fresh. To be out all day under somewhat 
trying conditions of weather and ground, and to have made a 
very considerable ascent, was a feat for a man of his age. The 
following day was Sunday. He was not tired with his exertions, 
and was quite ready for another hard day's work. He celebrated 
the Holy Communion at eight A.M., and read the morning service 
at ten. Soon after that service he said he wanted a long walk, 
and he, our host, his granddaughter, and I started for a pass 
in the hills some ten miles off. We had to take our lunch 
with us, and I made the Dean quite angry because I would not 
allow him to carry the bag! We had a beautiful, but very 


338 LINCOLN 1885- 

hot walk ; but the whole way the Dean was in the highest spirits. 
On our return he said, ' Be quick and change, we have just time 
for evensong.' Not many men, I think, could do two such days' 
work at seventy -five. 

I remember one afternoon we went to Glen Roy to see the 
parallel roads, and these interested him greatly. He insisted 
on going up the hillside and on to all the three ' roads.' 

I am sure he enjoyed himself in Lochaber thoroughly. He 
interested himself much, as I have said, in the people, and he 
gave great attention to all he heard of the Crofter question, 
of which he took a very impartial view. 

He began to learn Gaelic as soon as he arrived in the High- 
lands, and he bought a Bible, prayer-book, grammar, and 
dictionary. He tried to learn something of the language from 
every one he met, and he succeeded in learning the Lord's 
prayer. On one occasion he upset the usually grave deportment 
of a native servant by suddenly repeating it at dinner for the 
benefit of his family ! 

When he left Lochaber after a stay of about a month, he 
went by the coach, which then ran from Fort William to 
Kingussie, for the sake of the very beautiful drive of forty 
miles. His care for Mrs. Butler caused him to make all ex- 
cursions by driving, as otherwise she could not have seen the 
country, and the fine drive to Kingussie was therefore an 
appropriate end to a holiday which we little thought then was 
his last. 

Some correspondence belonging to these last years 
may be introduced here. 

W. J. B. TO Miss C. M. YONGE. 

THE PALACE, ELY, Sept. 19, 1886. 

It was very pleasant to see a letter directed by your hand and 
addressed to me. I am afraid however that ungratefully I 
thought how much pleasanter it would be to see yourself in the 
flesh. We want you more than I can say to visit St. Hugh and 
all the wonders of Lincoln. Do think about it. I wish that I 
could have fulfilled your bidding. I should have felt much 
honoured in doing so. But I never go when I can get off 



to Church Congresses ; and, fortunately for me, the Bishop of 
Ripon wrote to me to ask me to speak when all my days were 
occupied. ... I am most glad that you decline to appear 
on platforms. These platform women are doing much harm 
to themselves, and to society at large. In fact, the line which 
some of them [take], and I fear a good many more, is one of 
the worst symptoms of the present age. Satan is striking at 
the citadel which women are. . . . 

W. J. B. TO MlSS C. M. YONGE. 

'THE DEANERY, LINCOLN, Feb. 27, 1887. 

It is rather remarkable that I was so much exercised by the 
account of the Droxfield ' Mission ' as incontinently to write to 
The Guardian. It is probable that you will see my letter on 
Thursday. And I begin, " As one brought up in the school 
of Mr. Keble and Dr. Pusey." You are quite right so far as 

I am able to judge and is on a very dangerous tack. 

is no theologian. He is a very worthy and devout man, 

but essentially a ' sentimentalist.' I have seen his little books. 
. . . But after glancing at them I saw plainly that they were 
not made of the right stuff, but belonged to that dangerous 
Lutheran school which has done more harm than any other 
even than Calvinism because it exactly suits the instincts of 
the natural man. If I understand Christianity aright, it is 
directed equally against the two great crying sins pride and 
sloth. Therefore first of all it claims that every proud thought 
shall be brought down, and next that men should take up their 
cross and follow Christ that is, lead a life of effort and struggle. 
Pride is humbled by the institution of the ministry of man to 
man use of sacraments obedience to the Church. But 
Lutheranism ignores all this, and actually stimulates human 
pride by enabling them to assert that they are saved. And 
the attack upon ' works ' is the answer to ' take up the cross.' 
Thus by substituting a gospel which is not a gospel, it contrives 
neatly to neutralise Christianity. Then is it justifiable to claim 
forgiveness before repentance is made certain? But how can 
this be brought about by merely listening to an ecstatic sermon 
the feelings stimulated and no 'fruits meet' brought 
forth 1 

340 LINCOLN 1885- 

This new development of ' High Churchism ' causes me great 
uneasiness. It is the old story. People will not be patient 
forget that ' stare super antiquas vias ' is the only safe principle 
daub their walls with untempered mortar, and rejoice in the 
shallow results forgetting that the ' great hailstones ' will 
sooner or later fall. 

For my own part, I should say that in a parish like yours 
a mission could not be advisable. If the quiet regular pastor's 
visits, and the well-cared-for schools, and the frequent services 
will not meet the case, then nothing will. The church may be 
filled for a certain number of services, and a certain number of 
people may be stirred, etc. But all the real result could be 
produced much more healthily and thoroughly, though not so 
showily, by the regular parochial routine. . . . 

This is the letter to which he refers : 


SIR, As one brought up in the school of men like Mr. Keble 
and Dr. Pusey and others of the same mind, I feel bound to 
enter my humble protest against the doings of " the Mission of 
the very remarkable character," held at Shedfield, near Botley, 
Hants, and described in the last Guardian. I read these words : 

" When, towards the close, those who felt they had received 
forgiveness of their sins, and had chosen Christ for their Master, 
were asked to give a sign by standing up or holding up their 
hands (while all the congregation were kneeling with their eyes 
covered) the number was very large." 

Have we really descended so low as this ? Is this the theology 
of the Church of England ? Did the " extempore preacher of 
great power and ability " imagine that such demonstrations have 
anything of real worth ? How did these people know that they 
had received forgiveness for their sins ? Must not repentance 
precede forgiveness, and what proofs had they given of anything 
like true repentance such as ought to satisfy themselves or 
others 1 If the eloquent gentleman who held them "spellbound" 
would study an honestly written life of John Wesley, such as 
Abbey and Overton, or Lecky have described it, or if he would 
make himself acquainted with what is called " Kevival work in 
America," he would find that it is a comparatively easy matter, 


yet not without considerable danger, to kindle emotional expres- 
sion, but very difficult to lay the real foundation of a Christian 

THE DEANERY, LINCOLN, February 26, 1887. 


Aug. 19, 1893. 

Let me add my word of mindfulness and love to the many 
which have come to you at this time. The reason why my 
name was not among those who sent the address to you was 
simply because, in the deep affection and reverence which I 
feel towards you, it did not appear to me sufficient for the 
occasion. Few can realise like me, who remember you a bonny 
young maiden riding your pony to Hursley, what you have 
been and what you have done, how you have maintained the 
good old ways of Mr. Keble and the Tracts for the Times, and 
how freely you have offered of your best 'pro Ecclesia Dei.' 
I am afraid to say more. You would say that the Keble mind 
abhors praise. But I just wished to explain what might possibly 
have seemed to you strange, considering the friendship with 
which you have so long honoured me, and which I appreciate 
more than words can say. 

We are here in the heart of the Highlands, close to Inverlochy 
Castle where Montrose defeated Argyll as Sir Walter Scott 
tells in the Legend of Montrose, and twelve miles from Glencoe, 
which we visited on Monday a wild, savage glen, though hardly 
so savage as William's soldiers. We have in face of us Loch 
Linnhe and the mountains beyond, and at our back Ben Nevis 
frowns upon us, though he has used us gently, sparing us the 
cold and wet with which generally he treats his guests. . . . 
Very earnestly I pray that God's blessing may rest upon you, 
and give you health and strength and joy and peace in this 
present time, and the reward of faithful service hereafter. 


THE DEANERY, LINCOLN, Feb. 15, 1887. 

... In the nature of things I can hardly hope to see many 
more birthdays. I have now nearly " finished my course." And 

342 LINCOLN 1885- 

certainly my greatest happiness lies in the thought that, humanly 
speaking, Wantage will enjoy good Church teaching for many a 
long year, and that as one generation follows another the love of 
Christ and His Church strengthens rather than weakens. There 
is nothing like it to bring out the best stuff that there is in 
every one. Not only does it make people good, but it makes 
them clever and capable. See how well our Wantage lads do 
in London. . . . Why ? Because they have learnt the real 
gospel not the sham thing that people call the gospel, all 
feelings and rubbish, but the gospel which Christ taught, which 
commands men to use the means of grace, to accept the ministra- 
tions of God's ministers, and to obey the Church. All this 
is definite and clear, something that one can understand. But 
"Come to Christ" what does that mean? Or "Have you 
found peace?" to which a very holy man, a friend of mine, 
replied, " No, / have found war," meaning that a Christian man 
has to fight if he is to hold his own. . . . 


THE DEANERY, LINCOLN, Feb. 11, 1888. 

... It is now forty-one years since I first settled down 
in Wantage in bitter cold weather, and deep snow lying on 
the ground. You remember the old vicarage a tumble-down 
old house, with thin walls, through which the snails used to 
find their way into our drawing-room. My study was upstairs, 
and the labouring men used to clamber up, and leave plenty 
of their traces on the staircase and the landing. 1 In 1850 we 
got into the present vicarage, and a wonderful comfort it was 
to have over our head a good solid roof, and pleasant rooms 
to live in. We thought ourselves in great state when we got 
there. That was altogether a remarkable year, for besides the 
vicarage, we had the new schools opened, and laid the first 
stone of the Grammar School, and consecrated the cemetery. 
I little thought in those days of being Canon or Dean. All 

a One of those labouring men, meeting him on one of his visits to 
Wantage, observed, " Ye be main changed since I remembers you, 
sir." "Well, Bill, I useu't to wear a shovel hat and gaiters." "Nay, 
it's not that, sir, but ye be getting an old man." The Dean related 
this story with infinite delight. 



that I asked for was not to be persecuted just to be let alone, 
to work out my plans for the Church and parish. . . . 


THE DEANERY, LINCOLN, Feb. 11, 1889. 

. . . Certainly there is no place which I love to be in so 
much as my old parish, and I quite agree with you in loving 
the old church. There are much finer churches in the county, 
and there are others in other places more decorated and 
beautified, but for dignity and homeliness combined I know 
none which equals ours. It is now 31 \ years since it was 
restored. What a fight I had to get it done ! Do you re- 
member how some put about that we were going to "ruin 
the dear old parish church"? This was said and printed by 
some who did not care a farthing for the church, but who 
wanted to oppose any attempt to make things better. And 
then there was that vestry in 1852, when all the roughs in 
the place came to make a noise and bully. This is a very 
good example of how "the gates of hell cannot prevail against 
the Church," for in 1857 the work was done and well done. 
And many of those who had most opposed it ... were 
ashamed of themselves and came round. So I believe it will 
be in the case of our good Bishop of Lincoln. "The waves 
of the sea are mighty and rage horribly, but He that dwelleth 
on high is mightier." Yet it is, as you say, a cruel attack. 
. . . The only move that I shall ever make from this will 
be, in all probability, to my last earthly home. So that you 
must not think of Bishoprics for me. . . . 


THE DEANERY, LINCOLN, Feb. 11, 1892. 

. . . The old vicarage was a queer old place, parts of it 
five hundred years old, very draughty and inconvenient. Then 
that summer came small-pox, and we had many cases. Our 
nurse had it very badly. She was always marked by it. I 
got some credit because I visited the people regularly, while 
the Wesleyan preacher took panic and went away. That was 
useful in the beginning of my ministry, especially as I took a 
new line of services and the like, [different] from those who 
had gone before me. . . . 

344 LINCOLN 1885- 


THE MEAD, WANTAGE, Feb. 14, 1890. 

. . . You are fortunate in not having the avalanche of letters 
which overwhelms me when my birthday arrives. Half the 
school mistresses in England (to speak with some little 
hyperbole) have noted it down, and write kind words which 
alas ! must be acknowledged to say nothing of the children 
at the Wantage schools, pupil-teachers, etc. It is certainly 
very pleasant to be met with affection, but, like good taste, 
it has to be paid for. 

I spent the last three days partly in Convocation, where we 
carried a bold proposal, viz., 'that the Brotherhoods' which 
formed the subject of our discussion should be allowed to 
take 'dispensable vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience.' 
We had, as you may suppose, a good fight. Amendment after 
amendment was moved, argued out and lost, and at last we 
carried it triumphantly. It is so ridiculous to water down 
old words, which bear with them a certain attractive ring, 
likely to draw enthusiastic hearts. . . . 


HOTEL BUDAN, SAUMUR, July 27, 1892. 

. . . Well, we have lived for nearly three weeks in the midst 
of Renaissance chateaux, and towns. We have seen Compiegne 
and its forests, Fontainebleau and its gardens, Blois and its 
' escalier ' and murder chamber, Chambord and its ' tristesse,' 
Loches and its dungeons, besides various pleasant little, though 
not very little, inhabited houses, de Beauregard, Chevernay, 
Azay le Kideau, whose owners are good enough to let visitors 
enter. I must not forget perhaps the best of them all, 
Chenonceaux springing from the river Cher, and full of Diana 
of Poitiers and our old friend Catherine de Medicis. We have 
worked up our French and can very nearly repeat the names 
of the Valois kings, and we know something of their wives 
and of those whom, sad to say, they preferred to their wives. 
They were a very bad lot and I must say, that always 
excepting Henry VIII. , and perhaps Charles and James II., 
our kings and queens look like saints by their side. Still, 
they knew how to build and decorate and plant, and though 

1893 ON THE LOIRE 345 

Eenaissance work has a good deal of the earthly and carnal in 
it, one cannot deny the deft-fingeredness or the imagination of 
its designs. Salamanders, long-backed dogs, swans with arrows 
in their breasts, pelicans, and porcupines, are the animals with 
whom we have made most acquaintance. Now we are in a 
very different region. Plantagenets and Angevins are our 
hosts. We visited yesterday Fontevrault, where Henry II. 
and the spiteful Eleanor and Richard Coeur de Lion lie, and 
we spent the night at Chinon, the favourite resort of that race. 
The Plantagenet castle is gone, still the foundation remains 
of the walls, but the huge interior is become a vineyard. But 
there are still to be seen the salle in which Charles VII. first 
greeted la Pucelle, and the tower in which the dear saint was 
lodged during her stay at Chinon. If the Pope would call 
her a Saint, there would be some more reason than in the 
case of some of those who bear the name in the Roman calendar. 
. . . The worst of these French towns is their pavement, 
sometimes even, sometimes rough, but always and everywhere 
large stones, half a foot square, which make every wheelbarrow 
sound like a train. People moreover are early birds, and the 
noise, which does not cease till near eleven, begins before 
five. . 



I WILL try now to describe Dean Butler as he 
was in relation to the Cathedral ; but it is not easy 
work. He was so entirely unlike the conventional 
Dean. The charge of ' dying of dignity ' could not 
be laid against him, although he knew perfectly 
well how to hold his own and check a liberty. It 
was a surprise to find oneself told not to ring the 
front door bell when one wanted to see him, but 
to come straight into the house by the private 
entrance from the cloister, and knock at his study 
door. It was his way at Wantage, he said, with 
his curates. Soon I found that he liked one to 
come to him between 9.30 A.M. and 10. Naturally 
one hesitated to interrupt him at such an hour 
when he would be in the thick of his correspondence, 
but he liked it, and so one gradually got into the 
way of it. Even if one had nothing particular to 
ask or say, he liked the feeling of having some one 
with whom to discuss matters, to tell his plans, and 
often to instruct in the way he wished things to 
be done. 



I learnt very early that the conventional attitude 
of an ecclesiastical dignitary to a subordinate was 
not his. On my once quoting some flippant remark 
that curates and national school masters were thorns 
in the flesh to the parochial incumbent, he pulled 
me up quite sharply, " Why, my curates have been 
always my best and dearest friends." No one can 
read the verses he wrote on his curates without 
seeing how true these words were. At Lincoln he 
took pains to seek out and become acquainted with 
curates in the city parishes. 

Of course he expected one to work, and he exacted 
a good deal ; but then he set such an example in 
himself of unceasing work, that however one might 
feel inclined to grumble, one felt one's mouth closed 
by the sight of a man of his age, with a position 
which invited inactivity, working from morning till 
night, and yet keeping bright and cheerful through 
it all. 

Up at six every morning, he set to work at once. 
Working-men, who knew his early hours, would come 
to him then with demands on his counsel or help. 
After his breakfast at 8.30 till ten he would be 
busy with correspondence. Shoals of letters came 
from all parts of England. Letters asking advice 
in spiritual matters would form a large proportion. 
Letters from clergymen in country parishes asking 
him to come and cheer them by preaching in their 
churches on Sundays. Letters from clergymen in 
distress begging for some pecuniary aid. Letters 
relating to the numerous branches of the Wantage 

348 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

Sisterhood, as far away as India. At all these he 
would be working hard when one tapped at his study 
door at about twenty minutes to ten. I hardly ever 
saw him impatient, though the interruptions to even 
a ten minutes' talk would be frequent. Sometimes 
he would be in the middle of an important letter, 
and would tell me to take the paper and sit down. 
In a few minutes the letter would be finished, and he 
would then jump up and stand with his back to 
the fire, or perch himself on the arm of his Windsor 
chair, to listen to what one had to say. I never 
remember being sent away except when he was 
engaged in some important interview. He would 
then robe and go to the Cathedral for matins, walking 
with a quick firm step across the choir, but never 
omitting a brief but reverent inclination to the altar 
as he passed. On entering the vestry he would go 
to the end of the table, and after a few whispered 
w r ords on any necessary business, he would cover his 
face with his hand and remain standing in that 
posture till the hour sounded. It was all in keeping 
with his intense dislike to anything that savoured 
of irreverence. He could not endure trivial chat 
about the morning's paper, politics, or local gossip, 
just before taking part in Divine service. To him 
it was a very serious thing, and he earnestly desired 
that the choir men and choristers should keep as 
quiet as possible in their respective vestries. If he 
heard loud talking as he passed by he would stop 
and say something. He, at any rate, set the example 
of reverence he wished them to follow. Looking 

1 894 A TENDER HEART 349 

back on the nine years during which I was brought 
into close contact with him, I note some charac- 
teristics of which the outside world may be ignorant. 
His was a very grateful nature. In my intercourse 
with him I could not but be struck with the warmth 
of gratitude with which he spoke of all who had 
shown him kindness or helped him. It was after 
all so little that one could do, but it was enough to 
make him express himself with the utmost warmth 
towards all his Lincoln friends, whether belong- 
ing to the Cathedral or the diocese at large, who 
had supported him. Again, there was much more 
softness in his nature than the outside world gave 
him credit for. Many who only saw him from a 
stranger's point of view thought him hard, abrupt, 
unyielding, unsympathising. They did not know 
what tender fibres lay under that seemingly hard 
exterior. I can recall now how miserable he was 
on being told he had unwittingly wounded the feel- 
ings of a lady by something he had said in her 
presence, and how he was not to be comforted till he 
had personally assured her of his regret. 

In speaking of a case where an incumbent was 
parting with his curate, I heard him say, " I have 
no doubt he is right in getting rid of him, but I 
should like it done kindly." After his death the 
father of a family in writing to me said, " I never 
knew one who so watched to do kindness to my 
boys." 1 And again, I was always struck with his 

1 His love for children was very great, and he delighted in producing 
a little silver box from his pocket, and giving a jujube from it to any 

350 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

indifference to public praise in regard to any of the 
changes he effected in the Cathedral. Once more, he 
was by no means so unwilling to confess himself 
wrong as some have thought who judged him by the 
dogmatic tone of his assertions. 

Certainly he never hesitated to speak his mind, 
and it was generally made up ; but I have known 
him more than once retract an opinion and candidly 
own he was wrong, and many times in discussing 
some subject on which a difference of opinion might 
be entertained, he has said, " I may be wrong." Of 
course, with his large experience of parochial life, 
he could not fail to have a tolerably well-grounded 
opinion on most matters connected with a parish, 
but he by no means looked back on his Wantage 
life as totally free from mistakes. On the contrary, 
in talking it over with me, he has said sometimes 
that in some points he should have done differently 
had his life been lived over again. 

I have mentioned these traits in his character 
because those who only knew him slightly, or who 
held aloof from him, would probably not recognise 
them. It cannot be denied that there was something 
in his manner and mode of speaking which was 
calculated to make people think him hard and 
opinionative. He had no patience with sentiment- 
alism, nor indeed with sentiment if it interfered with 
what he thought was practically beneficial. This 

little one with whom he came in contact. The surprise and satisfac- 
tion this occasioned to a little French baby in an out-of-the-way 
village near Compiegne was pretty to behold, as was the way the 
mother's face lighted up at this unexpected notice from a stranger. 


brought him into disgrace with architectural critics 
when he insisted on the pavement of the retrochoir 
being relaid and made smooth for the benefit of the 
congregation who met at 8 A.M. on Thursdays and 
at 4.45 P.M. for the short addresses on Saints' days. 
He could not conceive the advantage of retaining 
the old uneven pavement, and was deaf to all re- 
monstrances. So also with the Chapter-house. He 
never could rest till the Diocesan Conference and 
missionary meetings were transferred from the 
County Assembly Rooms to what he considered a 
far more seemly place ; but the levelling of the 
sloping floor was a grievous offence to many who 
did not understand his motive in wishing to make 
use of an ecclesiastical building for ecclesiastical 
purposes, and the rumour spread abroad that the 
Dean was spoiling the Cathedral. He would only 
laugh on being told this, and I don't think he 
minded it. So long as he was clear on the main 
point he did not trouble himself with details. 

On another occasion, in a speech on behalf of the 
School of Art, he used a phrase which gave offence 
to some, when he said that the "people of Lincoln 
needed a little civilization." Of course his meaning 
was clear enough to any one who understood the 
technical sense of the word, but there were some 
who insisted that he had insulted Lincoln by calling 
its people barbarians ! 

Little things like these often conspired to give 
outsiders an unfavourable impression. His out- 
spokenness was often unpalatable to those who might 

352 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

otherwise have been more drawn to him. He never 
minced matters. He would tell you plainly that 
he had no opinion of district visitors, that clergy- 
men's wives often did a great deal of mischief by 
meddling, or as he would say, by " poking their 
noses" into parochial matters where they were not 
wanted ; that a clergyman was of little use unless 
he taught religion daily in the parish school ; that 
large congregations were no proof of a clergyman's 
efficiency, and such like. Now he would qualify 
all these assertions if any one entered into conver- 
sation with him. What he really meant was that 
district visitors' work is often inefficient when they 
are not trained, and will not submit to training. 
What his sentiments were respecting clergymen's 
wives can be best shown by the following letter : 

W. J. B. TO REV. 

LEE HOUSE, BRIGHTON, January 15, 1888. 

... So you have met your fate at last. I believe that, 
situated as you are, you will find that your work will be greatly 
strengthened by having a partner. Not that I believe in what 
are called 'clergy women,' nor in the claim which people some- 
times make on clergymen's wives to do parochial work. I do not 
consider that they have any more call to this than any other 
ladies. ALL people ought to take their part in good works, and 
so far, no doubt, the wife of a clergyman ought to set a good 
example. But I resent the claim. Mrs. Jones, the lawyer's wife, 
and Mrs. Brown, the squire's wife, etc., etc., are just as much 
bound in the sight of God to do good to their fellow-creatures as 

Mrs. , the vicar's wife. And the consequence of the claim 

being allowed or recognised is that clergymen's wives are often 
fussy, self-asserting, and negligent of their own households. The 
first thing for every married woman to do is to have her house 



well ordered, whether she be the wife of clergyman or layman. 
Then, after that, let her do what she can for others. I am sure 
that in this way a clergyman will win more respect, have more 
Trto-Tts ifiiKri, and so be able to do more for his flock, than if his 
wife went poking about into the people's houses, and giving 
tongue at temperance meetings, or G.F.S., or mothers' meetings, 
and the like. 

Now I did not mean to write all this yarn. It flowed out 
spontaneously and would not stop. 

I hope that we soon may have the pleasure of seeing you and 
your future wife. You know how glad we should be to 
receive you at Lincoln. Only if you come, you must come soon. 
We are all growing old, and before very long you may be called 
upon to attend something very different from wedding 
feasts. . . . 

He himself had taught daily in the Wantage 
schools for thirty-four years, and he never faltered 
in his conviction of the importance of this duty. 
The real proof of a clergyman's efficiency he believed 
to be shown in the number of the communicants, not 
in the number of those who simply came to church 
possibly for the music or for the preaching. But 
strong statements sometimes scared and repelled 
people. He was not merciful to self-indulgence in 
any form, and never liked a clergyman to smoke. 
In answer to arguments he would simply say, " Mr. 
Keble never did." I think this reference to one 
whom he reverenced more than any other man in 
the Church of England, helps to explain his attitude 
towards what are usually thought harmless in- 
dulgences. Every one who reads Dr. Pusey's Life 
must be struck with the austerity, and indeed asceti- 
cism, which marked the lives of the Tractarian party. 
Dean Butler had come in contact with it early, and 

354 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

had found in Mr. Keble a guide and pattern he 
never refused to follow. Hence, he had one good- 
humoured answer to all who pleaded for a mitigation 
of the rigid rule he held against a clergyman smoking, 
or dancing, or shooting, "Mr. Keble never did it." 

But he had also a deeper reason for this strictness. 
He had a very strong conviction that in these days 
the Church is on her trial, and that what was 
tolerated in past days would not be tolerated now. 
He was fond of saying that formerly people believed 
in the Church, but that now they believe in the 
parson meaning that whereas they once had faith 
in the Church as a system, they now only had in 

No one who knew his daily life as a Dean could 
possibly think he held up a standard of life which 
he did not keep to. His life as a parish priest had 
been such as probably few would have lived who 
so . early met with rich preferment, He told me 
that when he went to Wantage the living was 800 
a year, and that when he had paid his curates, and 
subscriptions to schools and charities, only 150 
remained, so that had he been destitute of private 
means he could not have carried out his plans. His 
style of living was of the simplest, and he only had 
a late dinner on state occasions. Social pleasure he 
put aside, and seldom dined out in the neighbour- 
hood. Each day was a day of hard work, spent in 
the church, in the schools, in the parish. His one 
relaxation was his annual six weeks' holiday which 
he always allowed himself, and without which he 


would have long before broken down. One cannot 
be surprised that Dean Butler, after such a parochial 
life, had little sympathy with valetudinarianism, or 
clerical apathy or idleness. " Of course it is a grind," 
he would say impatiently, on hearing of some clergy- 
man complaining of work. And he could not endure 
discontent. " What is he grumbling about, what 
does he want?" he would say; and then, on being 
told that so and so wanted to get away to a better 
or pleasanter living, he would burst out into strong 
condemnation. Of course this laid him open to the 
taunt that as he obtained a good living so early, he 
could not appreciate the weariness of those who 
struggle on for long years on exiguous preferment, 
but this is easily shown to be a cavil. His own 
life of hard work and rigid self-denial gives the lie 
to the insinuation that he could not sympathise with 
those who feel the wear and tear of body and mind 
in well- worked parishes ; and it must also be re- 
membered that the greater part of his Wantage life 
was passed ungraced by any mark of favour from 
his diocesan. Although Bishop Wilberforce called 
him a model parish priest, yet he received his 
solitary distinction of an Honorary Canonry of 
Christ Church from the hands of Bishop Mackarness. 
It was reserved for Mr. Gladstone to have the credit 
of relieving him from the toil of a parish by making 
him first Canon of Worcester, and then Dean of 
Lincoln. Hence, he was never weary of telling 
clergymen that if they only did their duty honestly 
and single-heartedly, preferment would come in good 

356 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

time to them, as it had done to him. He had never 
sought directly or indirectly for it. He could 
thoroughly sympathise with a man who did his 
work simply and uncomplainingly ; he could enter 
into his difficulties, and would do all he could to 
help him ; but, as I have said, he could not bear 
complaints and discontent. 

The life he lived as Dean was a continuation of 
the parochial life under different conditions, but 
with the same vigour as of old. He would come 
back on Easter Eve from Wantage, where through- 
out the whole week most of his time had been spent 
in hearing confessions and delivering addresses, 
looking completely worn out ; and yet the next 
morning he would be celebrating Holy Com- 
munion in the retrochoir at seven o'clock, giving 
a short earnest address and later on preaching at 
matins in the choir with wonderful freshness and 
vigour ; and this at an age when most men crave 
for rest. 

He could not be called a popular preacher in the 
common sense of the term. Nature had not given 
him a correct musical ear, and there was a curious 
misplacement of accent which often marred the 
delivery. He would begin in rather a low-pitched 
monotonous voice, perfectly distinct ; but as he 
warmed to his subject he would gradually raise his 
voice, and then, owing to the peculiar acoustic pro- 
perties of the Cathedral, many words would be lost. 
But none who heard him could fail to be struck with 
the intense earnestness, the absolute sincerity of 


every word he uttered. His sermons were not, as 
I have said, popular; they were not flights of 
oratory ; they were not what is called comfortable ; 
for he realised so deeply the nature and extent of 
sin that he could not preach without attacking it in 
some shape ; but such as they were they made a 
deeper impression than the more sugary effusions 
of recognised pulpit orators. The remarks of a 
Lincoln nonconformist curiously illustrate this. 
He was asked whom he liked to hear best in the 
Cathedral, and he replied, "the Dean, because he 
means business'' I do not know that a better de- 
scription could be given of Dean Butler's sermons. 

Although he was a very decidedly High Church- 
man, yet he did not agree with all the practices of 
the High Church party. He always insisted that 
there should be a Celebration of Holy Communion 
on Good Friday. I remember his dear friend Canon 
Freeling, taking the opposite view in conversation 
with him, but the Dean was inflexible. His views 
on this matter are expressed in letters to a former 
Wantage curate. 


WANTAGE VICABAGE, Tuesday in Holy Week, 1880. 

I have not much time, but nevertheless your letter must be 
answered. Every year I feel more that I have been right in 
maintaining the Good Friday Communion. The whole thing 
starts from the ignorance of the ritualists, who imagine because 
Roman Catholics do not celebrate on that day that there was 
no Communion. Whereas if they had read and could translate 
the "Rituale Romanum," they would have found a special ser- 
vice for the Priest's Communion. Moreover, it is an old English 

358 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

custom, and though, one must take care not to let it supersede, as 
once it did supersede Easter, I do not like to let old traditions 
drop. We have from twenty to thirty communicants always on 
that day, and it does not interfere with Easter at all. For my 
own part I cannot imagine how I could get through the day 
without Holy Communion. . . . 

THE COLLEGE, WORCESTER, March 27 [1884]. 

... I send to you a little pamphlet l on a somewhat im- 
portant subject. The evidence of Tunstal is very striking. For 
my own part I have never, as you know, abandoned Good 
Friday Communion. I believe it to be an old English tradition 
which some of our friends have rashly, in their zeal to imitate 
Eome, endeavoured to stamp out. I think that you will con- 
sider the pamphlet worth perusal. 

So, too, he disapproved strongly of the custom 
recently adopted by many clergy, of refusing to give 
the chalice into the hands of the communicants. 
Here he appealed to the rubric, "into their hands," 
for confirmation of his view. 

Although the world had all his life looked upon 
him as a ritualist, yet he was not one in the ordinary 
sense of the term. He understood and valued ritual 
indeed, but only where he conceived it to be intelli- 
gible and useful. He once exploded in strong wrath 
in telling me of a young clergyman who had read 
the Epistle and Gospel in an inaudible voice, and 
then defended himself for so doing on the ground 
that the whole service of the Holy Communion was a 
mystery ! This sort of thing he could not endure 
with any patience. 

1 " Celebration of Holy Communion on Good Friday the rule of the 
Church of England," by Eev. A. Wilson, M.A. (George Bell & Sons, 


In talking with me about confession and Sister- 
hoods he surprised me by what he said. It is always 
hazardous to trust to one's memory, but my impres- 
sion is that in speaking of confession he said it 
was of special benefit to two very opposite classes 
those who had led very sinful lives, and those whose 
lives were of singular purity and holiness. The 
former, he said, found comfort in an authoritative 
absolution, an assurance of forgiveness for their past 
sinfulness ; while the latter were often distressed by 
excessive scruples of conscience, and needed support 
and encouragement. But he was not for pressing 
confession on all. What he said about Sisterhoods 
I have more than once heard him repeat. He was 
not for the multiplication of such institutions on 
separate and distinct foundations. He thought that 
they often ran into debt and got into trouble simply 
because they were started with insufficient means on 
an insecure basis. He never allowed his own Sisters 
to beg. 

I give these scraps of conversation for what they 
are worth, but they serve to show with what open- 
ness and frankness he would discuss such matters 
with a subordinate. He never shirked a question or 
put it aside, but would always do his best to enlighten 
one on any point when he was asked. He was very 
precise in his views as to the conduct and reading 
of the service. He disliked seeing the Bible left 
open when once it was done with after the second 
lesson. He would say, Our Lord closed the book 
when He had finished reading. He did not like 

360 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

words to be clipped in reading the Bible or Prayer 
Book ; and I remember on one occasion he asked if 
any one ever read the opening lines of the exhortation, 
" Dearly belov'd brethren." He held that the rhythm 
of the sentences required that the " eds " should be 

His own reading was rapid, but never anything 
but intensely reverent. So also his whole demeanour 
in church struck one as being that of a man who 
realised God's presence. It made him absolutely 
intolerant of what he called " sloppiness " in doing 
the service. He did not use many modes of express- 
ing reverence which have become common in later 
days. He gave a reverent inclination, not a genu- 
flection, to the altar. I never saw him use the sign 
of the cross in church. And yet the Paradisus 
Animce and the breviary were, with his Bible and 
Prayer Book, his daily spiritual bread. 

His attitude towards nonconformists has already 
been touched on by Canon Fowler. I may add 
to what has been said that there was a cordial 
friendship between him and one of the leading 
Lincoln nonconformists, who has earned the grati- 
tude of Churchmen by his munificent gift to the 
Cathedral of Queen Eleanor's recumbent effigy. Dean 
Butler never passed a Christmas Day without a visit 
to his friend's house. 

A lecture which he gave to an audience largely 
composed of nonconformists subjected him to some 
criticism. Of course the matter was exaggerated, 
and very soon after his death I found an amiable 


clergyman possessed with the idea that he had 
officiated in a nonconformist chapel. 

The Dean never disguised his opinions on the 
subject of Dissent, He never would allow the stock 
argument that as we all are trying to go to the same 
place it does not matter by which road we go. He 
had no opinion of the 'exchange of pulpits' device 
by which some have thought our religious divisions 
might be healed. He would have nothing to do 
with platform controversy, whereby, he would say, 
the parson and minister enact "a religious cock-fight" 
for the amusement of the public. His own view 
was that, as Dissent had thriven from the Church's 
neglect of her duties, the only way to make things 
better was for clergymen to do their duty thoroughly. 

Nothing depressed him more than to find a clergy- 
man neglecting his duty. I have known him come 
back from preaching in remote country villages 
disheartened and out of spirits at what he had heard 
of parishes where the clergyman never went near 
the schools. " How can he expect the people to be 
other than Dissenters if he does not get hold of the 
young generation and teach them true Church 
principles," he would say ; and at the suggestion 
that teaching daily in the school was irksome, "Of 
course it is a grind. What a grind it was at 
Wantage getting the children to say their prayers." 

In politics he took a line of his own. His feelings 
and sympathies were, in his later years conservative; 
but his pet formula, which he was fond of quoting, 
gives the key to his political convictions: "He loveth 

362 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

our nation, and hath built us a synagogue." So long 
as a man was patriotic, and a Churchman, he did not 
ask for more. 

His own personal friendships were not affected 
by political differences. Lord Swansea had been a 
lifelong friend, and he was on terms of affectionate 
intimacy with his brother-in-law, K. D. Hodgson, 
who represented Bristol in the Liberal interest. 

On coming into Lincolnshire he had great pleasure 
in renewing acquaintance with men whom he had 
been with at Westminster and Cambridge Canon 
Welby, Mr. Banks Stanhope, and others. He had 
an extraordinary memory for faces known to him 
in early days, and delighted in discussing old times 
with former school and college friends. 

Otherwise, it must be confessed, he never quite 
cordially ' took to ' Lincolnshire. Perhaps few 
people brought up in the south and coming here 
late in life, ever do. 

He was painfully struck with what seemed to him 
the want of organisation in the Diocese. Living so 
long as he had done in a very perfectly organised 
Diocese like that of Oxford, he could not at first 
understand why Lincoln should be so different. In 
vain one used to urge various pleas that the 
awkward situation of Lincoln itself, on one side of the 
county, and not well served by trains, was an 
obstacle ; or that Lincoln never had been held in 
the same esteem in Lincolnshire as York is in York- 
shire. It was all in vain. The contrasts which he 
not infrequently drew may have served to repel some 


from becoming intimate with him ; but as a rule 
he made friends wherever he went. It was difficult, 
indeed, to resist such thorough sincerity of kindness, 
such genuine truthfulness as he evinced in his inter- 
course with clergy and laity. Some held aloof, but 
though he was quite aware of their sentiments, he 
never gave vent to any bitterness in what he said 
of them. On the contrary, in one case he took 
special pains to gratify what he knew were the 
wishes of a clergyman, although he was perfectly 
aware of the latter's feeling towards him. It was 
all of a piece with the generosity of his nature to try 
to satisfy another man's desires without getting any 
thanks for doing so. 

I close these recollections with two letters ; one 
written from Scotland. The first words make one 
feel ashamed that one should have added to his 
labours by asking him for help during one's holiday ; 
but he was always only too willing to give it. 


/ can manage September 24. We are not at all badly situated 
here, with a loch and mountains in front, and Ben Nevis behind 
us. House clean and sweet. We are waited upon by two Miss 
Macdonalds, daughters of a vigorous Highlander who has all the 
coaching and other traffic business in his hands a stout Episco- 
palian and Conservative. He comes from Glencoe, whither, 
about twenty miles off, he is to drive us to-day. We went to the 
church here built mainly by the exertions of Mr. Davey, friend 
of Mr. Hutton Riddell a really satisfactory building. . . . We 
met many friends in Edinburgh ; visited the Cathedral, which is 
really a fine building and has good services. The Dean, Mont- 
gomery, is a fine old Scotchman. ... I am poking a little at 
Gaelic. It is very hard and barbaric. 

364 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

The other letter is the last I ever received from him : 

THE DEANERY, LINCOLN, September 25, 1893. 

Before I get to write my paper for the Church Congress, I will 
write you a line respecting yesterday's services at Burton. The 
church was full both times, and the singing and general tone all 
that one can desire. How sad it is that the same cannot be 
everywhere ! It might were it not for that horrid Methodism 
and other forms of Dissent ; yet even they would be in a great 
degree neutralised if the clergy did their work faithfully and 
kindly. . . . Mrs. Butler is still at Wantage. She is to join 
me at Dogmersfield in October, I believe. We stay with the 
Mildmays, and I am to preach on the fiftieth anniversary of the 
rebuilding of the church. My first curacy was there, and a great 
blessing it has been to me. The Dysons were no ordinary 
people. They were very clever and affectionate, and took a high 
view of clerical duty. He had been Professor of Anglo-Saxon, 
and belonged to that famous old C.C.C. lot, which included 
Arnold, and Mr. Keble, and Cornish of Kenwyn, and various 
other noble souls. Make the best of your holiday, and return 
ruddy, round, and reasonable. 

In July, 1893, the Dean and Mrs. Butler cele- 
brated their ' golden wedding.' It was marked by 
various gifts to the Cathedral, notably a beautiful 
Bible for the choir lectern from their children and 
grandchildren, and a gold chalice set with sapphires 
for use at the altar in the Lady Chapel, from many 
friends connected with Wantage. No one then had 
the slightest idea how near the clouds of sorrow were. 
The Dean's health was good, and although Mrs. Butler 
was no longer equal to taking foreign tours, yet there 
was no cause for uneasiness about her. The sonnet 
written in acknowledgement of the tokens of love and 
friendship on the occasion of the ' golden wedding ' 
shows however that the Dean had memento mori 


ever before his eyes. But this was no recent thought 
to him. One of his first acts on coming to Lincoln 
was to get leave from the Home Secretary for the 
interment of members of the Chapter and their 
families in the Cloister Garth, and he selected his 
own place of burial and frequently pointed it out to 
friends as he was passing through the Cloister. 

A crumbling wall to fall at lightest breath, 
A bark hull-covered as the waters rose, 
A city round whose wall the foemen close, 

An aged man who daily looks on death 

Such, dearest friends, am I yet this remains: 

A heart which beats in unison with love, 
A heart which love rejoices like the rains 

Which fall on thirsty soil and quickly prove 
That life remains within. Thus, then, 'tis mine 
To feel new life in all the love from all 

Poured forth on me and her, for lustres ten 
Most wise and helpful mate, true oil and wine 
To vexed and troubled spirit, whom to call 
Wife, and my own, exalts me among men. 
With grateful heart, 


A letter written at the same time breathes the 
same spirit : 

W. J. B. TO 

THE DEANERY, LINCOLN, July 31, 1893. 

Many thanks to you and to your father also for ' minding ' 
our fiftieth wedding day. It is very wonderful that we should 
both be alive and reasonably well, fairly able-bodied and 
not idiotic. Of course this cannot last for ever, nor much 
longer. But whenever the change comes my only feeling will be 
of deepest thankfulness to Him Who has poured so many bless- 
ings on my life. Few have had a happier life than I. I trust 
that the poor return that I have made may be forgiven. You 

366 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

and others do not know how much I have to lament yet so 
it is and the thought of so many good things given makes this 
all the more keenly felt. . . . 

In October the blow came. He was to preach in 
a church at Maidenhead, and shortly before going 
up into the pulpit a telegram was put into his hands 
which told him that Mrs. Butler, whom he had left 
perfectly well at Lincoln, was stricken with paralysis. 
The shock must have been terrible, but with his 
strong sense of duty he would not shirk the task 
he had to do. He preached, although, as he after- 
wards said, he did not know how he did it ; and 
after making some necessary arrangements at Want- 
age, he hurried back to Lincoln. 

He found Mrs. Butler greatly recovered, for the 
seizure was not a severe one, but it was an unmis- 
takeable warning, and he seemed to realise for the 
first time how slender was the thread of life that 
bound them together. 

No one who knew Dean Butler, and saw him in 
his family circle, could fail to see that, great as was 
his love for his children, his affections were centred 
in his wife. She was everything to him. I shall 
never forget the change I noticed in him when I 
went into his study the morning after bis return. 
All the brightness had gone out of his face ; he spoke 
in a low subdued voice, and looked like one who 
had undergone a terrible shock. And yet the days 
that followed were in some respects unusually happy 
ones. He at once cancelled all his immediate en- 
gagements, and devoted himself to the care of Mrs. 

1 894 HALCYON DAYS 367 

Butler. Sitting beside her bed and reading to her the 
first volume of Dr. Pusey's Life so full of interest to 
them both it was an interval of calm peaceful hap- 
piness in a life which had been so full of hard work, 
and so much interrupted by absences from home. 

Few could know how entirely in sympathy with 
her husband's work Mrs. Butler had been throughout 
her married life. She had resolved at the outset 
never to be a hindrance to him in his clerical duties, 
and so through the years of toil at Wantage she had 
been content to lead a self-denying life ; to forego 
many of the pleasant refreshments which sometimes 
sweeten the life of a hard-working clergyman's wife ; 
to see but little of him during the day when he was 
busy in the schools and in the parish, or in the 
evening when he would be holding classes. And 
in this retired life not many knew what reason her 
husband had to be proud of the intellectual powers 
which she never sought to display. She had an 
unusually accurate and retentive memory, and had 
received a thoroughly good education. Before her 
marriage she and a sister had made various transla- 
tions from Fouque, among which their Sintram was 
praised by J. H. Newman. Mrs. Butler had, more- 
over, a singularly clear head for business, and had 
kept not only all the domestic but also the paro- 
chial accounts, setting her husband absolutely free 
from all financial cares, so that he used humorously 
to relate how that, since his marriage, he had only 
once drawn a cheque, which was returned with the 
comment " Signature not known." 

368 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

No wonder then that on the rare occasions when 
he allowed himself to contemplate the possibility of 
losing his wife, he used to speak of his future life 
as almost too wretched to be borne. " I don't know 
what I should do without Mrs. Butler," he said to 
me not many days before his death. 

He was mercifully spared the trial. Mrs. Butler 
had recovered from the immediate effects of the 
seizure, but she came downstairs an invalid, and 
obliged to lead an invalid's life. The Dean had 
already begun to take up the threads of his inter- 
rupted work, and though his heart was heavy he 
forced himself to go about with an outwardly cheer- 
ful face. 

But he felt that death was drawing very near. 
On a Sunday in December " he came out of the 
Cathedral in his surplice," writes a near relative, 
" and stood between the greenhouses looking up at 
the central tower. ' What a grand place it is ! 
Well, I shall soon be. lying beneath it.' Then with 
a quick change of manner, and looking down at me 
with a half smile, ' And then everybody will say, 
He wasn't such a bad chap after all.' ' 

He was greatly grieved at the death of Mr. 
Edward Stanhope, 1 for whom he had a very warm 
regard. He looked upon him quite as a realisation 
of his conception of what a good man should be a 
Churchman and a patriot. When then he was asked 
by Mrs. Stanhope to preach on the first Sunday after 

1 Ed ward Stanhope, Secretary for War, M.P. for Lincolnshire, 
died Dec. 1893. 



her husband's death, he willingly consented, though 
he was not feeling well. On Saturday, December 
30th, he came into the vestry of the Cathedral to 
tell me he was going to Revesby that afternoon, 
and would not be back till Monday morning, January 
1st, and spoke to me about the seven o'clock Cele- 
bration of Holy Communion, which he would not 
be able to take himself as usual. I saw him next 
on Monday afternoon when he came to Evensong, 
and read as usual the second lesson, but with evident 
signs of illness. After Evensong, as it was the Feast 
of the Circumcision, he gave a short address in the 
retrochoir on "a new heaven and a new earth," with 
what those who heard it described as something 

' unearthly' in voice and manner. His last words 

the last he was to speak in the Cathedral were, "I 
will go forth in the name of the Lord God, and make 
mention of His righteousness only." That evening 
he had the Cathedral choristers to supper at the 
Deanery, and seemed outwardly bright and cheerful, 
but he confessed that he felt exceedingly ill and 
could not imagine what was the matter with him. 
I said he ought to see a doctor, but he only smiled, 
and said he should soon be all right again. He took 
leave of me at the front door, and said something 
about Mrs. Butler's health which showed how it 
weighed upon his mind. 

The next day he did not leave his room. No one 
had any feeling of serious uneasiness, and no unfav- 
ourable symptoms showed themselves, though his 
condition remained unchanged till Friday, January 

2 A 

370 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

5th, when he caught a chill, and by the following 
morning influenza, which was already in the house, 
had declared itself. Still, even though we heard 
that pneumonia had set in, we did not realise the 
danger. He had always seemed so strong and made 
so liorht of illness that it was hard to believe he could 


succumb to any ordinary attack. But the pneumonia 
had affected both lungs, and the doctor really had 
but little hope. 

Up to this point he had still been working in his 
sick-room, preparing his Revesby sermon for publi- 
cation, and answering his Christmas letters. The 
following is one of the last he wrote : 

W. J. B. TO 

DEANERY, LINCOLN, Jan. 5, 1894. 

Thank you for your kind Christmas greeting, which alas ! 
I have been utterly unable to acknowledge till now, so vast 
a heap of business of all kinds which had to be got through 
was lying on my shoulders. Now I am regularly laid by, with 
the severest throat and chest attack that I have ever had. 
I can hardly speak for five minutes without coughing myself 
to pieces. I am in my bedroom, and there likely to bide, 
especially if this bitter weather holds on. Fortunately all that 
I had to do except letters which I can manage was done 
before / was done for. 

I hope that all went well with you and on Christmas 

day, and that you have taught the folk that Christmas means 
more than roast beef and pudding. How shocking it is to see 
how the world has snatched from the Church even its holiest 

Mrs. Butler (D.G.) continues to mend. You would not, I 
am sure, perceive that she had ever been ill. She is in very 

good force and spirits. and , poor dears, have enough 

to think about, but they seem to stand it pretty well. . . . 


He got worse. On Tuesday, the 9th, I was sent 
for to administer the Holy Communion to him and Mrs. 
Butler. He had more than once told me he expected 
me to come to him if he died at Lincoln, because, as 
he said, " You know my ways." He was in a small 
bedroom adjoining Mrs. Butler's, and I only saw him 
when I went in to give him the Holy Communion. 
Even then he seemed so strong, took the chalice 
in so firm a grasp, that I never imagined the end 
was so near. The next day a doctor from Leeds 
came to consult with the Lincoln medical man. We 
heard that if he could get over Sunday he might 
possibly pull through. In the course of the week 
the Bishop said to him, "It is worth while to be 
ill for Dr. Pusey," referring to a Review of Dr. 
Pusey's Life on which he had been working, though 
feeling the strain in the midst of all his other work ; 
he responded with a bright look. 

Through Saturday night I sat up at the Deanery 
in case he should pass away suddenly. All hope 
was then over. Early on Sunday morning the 
doctor told him of his hopeless state. He hardly 
at first seemed to comprehend it, for his strength 
was still very great. The fever had gone, but the 
lungs were both clogged, and the heart was 

I went to him soon after eight, and read a psalm 
and some prayers from the " Visitation of the Sick." 
At nine I went at his desire to the palace, to tell 
the Bishop he was dying and to ask him to come. 

The Bishop came and read the commendatory 

372 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

prayer, and gave him his blessing. His utterance 
was much impeded, and it was difficult to make 
out clearly what he said, but the few words that 
fell from him were full of gratitude and affection 
and calm trust. 

I had to go to at ten o'clock for the service, 

and I took leave of him, not expecting to find -him 
alive when I returned at one. But he lingered on 
in full consciousness, and said farewell to his wife, 
who was brought from her sick-bed to see him 
once more. He gave directions that any flowers 
which might be sent after his death should be 
given to the patients at the County Hospital. 
His spirit passed away just as the bells ceased to 
ring for the four o'clock service. 

The next Sunday, January 21st, Mrs. Butler 
followed him. They lie in the Cloister Garth, in 
the north-east corner, a spot he had marked out 
for himself some time before. After his wife's 
funeral a short bright peal of bells, in accordance 
with the Canon, was rung ; and some people, who 
were more accustomed to funeral peals, and did 
not know the reason, were perplexed. A maid- 
servant who had been a member of his communicants' 
class told her mistress that she wondered at first, 
but now was sure they did it for joy, because the 
Dean and Mrs. Butler were once more together. 

Among the many letters which poured in after 
William Butler's death, one of the most touching 
was from the Cure of St. Ouen, whose visit to Lincoln 


in the previous year has been mentioned. He was 
the last of a series of foreign priests with whom a 
friendship had been established, on terms of mutual 
respect, Christian charity, and no compromise. 

ST. OPEN DE RODEN, LE 28 Janvier, 1894. 

TRES-HONORE MONSIEUR, C'est avec des larmes dans les 
yeux, que j'ai lu la lettre que vous avez eu la tres-grande 
bonte de m'ecrire. . . . Pauvre Monsieur le Doyen! 

Comme je le ve"nerais, comme je 1'aimais et comme je le 
regrette ! Et Madame votre si respectable mere, quel delicieux 
souvenir j'avais emporte d'elle ! 

Je crois vraiment que la nouvelle d'un de'ces dans ma famille 
ne m'aurait pas plus vivement impressionne que celle de la 
perte si inopinee, si inattendue de deux personnes amies pour 
lesquelles j'avais un veritable culte de respectueuse affection. 
Comme vous le dites si bien et d'une maniere si touchante, ils 
sont partis tous deux dans la foi d'une Eglise qui repose sur 
la meme fondation que la notre. 

Oh certes, je n'ai pas 1'ombre d'une doute qu'ils n'aient re9u 
tous deux dans le ciel la recompense de leur foi et de leurs 
admirables vertus. 

Vous permettrez pourtant a ma foi catholique romaine, cette 
douce consolation de prier pour le repos complet de 1'ame de nos 
regrettes defunts, en ofFrant a leur intention le Saint Sacrifice 
de la Messe. Pour que vous puissiez vous unir de loin & ma 
priere, je compte dire cette Messe a St. Ouen Dimanche prochain 
& neuf heures en presence du Tres-Saint Sacrement expose" 
solennellement. . . . 

Agreez, tres-honore^ monsieur, 1'hommage de mes condolences 
les plus sympathiques et les plus respectueuses en N.-S. J.-C. 

The late Kev. T. B. PoUock of St. Alban's, 
Birmingham, noted down some recollections of 

O ' 

a long friendship before he too passed to his 
reward : 

374 THE LAST YEARS 1885- 

. . . What St. Alban's owes to him we can never fully 
tell. When we were in lowest depths, and every man's hand 
and voice were against us, and we had hard work to keep any 
faith in the future of what we were trying to do, he came, and 
was the means of turning the whole course of things. He 
had preached at Holy Trinity for E. C. U. On the morning 
after, he came to the early Celebration at St. Alban's, and break- 
fasted with us. This was about twenty-seven years ago. He 
went into the whole history of our troubles with the kindest 
interest, and braced us at once by the contagion of his strong 
spirit. He spoke to Lord Beauchamp, who visited St. Alban's, 
and offered to be one of the trustees, and was till the day of his 
death an active friend of the work, with his influence and his 

We were in heavy debt, and some of our lay people urged the 
sale of St. Patrick's mission-room and schools. Your father was 
the means of sending us an anonymous offering of 1500, which 
saved what now promises to be a work almost as large as that of 
St. Alban's. 

We knew well how much he was in demand, and felt diffident 
about asking him to come to us as often as he did ; but he 
always came when he could, and with a readiness that made his 
help more valued. Some one wrote, I think in the Guardian, 
that he was a man " more to be feared than loved." This was to 
us most strange. I never met one in his position with whom 
one was able to be more absolutely at one's ease, sure of his 
warm kindness of heart. He never ' pawed ' or fondled people, 
either with words or hands, as the manner of some is. He had 
stronger and more manly ways of showing affection and winning 
it. A born ruler of men, no one ever seemed to me more to 
recognise the ' authority ' under which he was. He had no 
patience with wilfulness and private fancies, and used constantly 
to urge the carrying out in its thoroughness of the system of 
the Church which entrusted us with a commission. Some years 
ago he expressed great concern at the new notions about fasting, 
which he said were becoming common. He said he Avould like 
greatly to see Dr. Pusey, who first taught him, and ask what 
his feeling was about the change. Fasting used to be looked 
upon as a discipline and self-denial, but now, even in religious 
houses, it was becoming merely a matter of formal obedience, 


and the most dainty and luxurious food was provided, all being 
thought right, if only meat was avoided. When the Dean 
was with us during the week of the Congress in Birmingham, he 
was as cheery as a boy ; but he often said things that plainly 
showed a feeling that his life was not to be long. Talking 
one day he said, " I only care now for friends and books. Any- 
thing else give it to Chimham." And twice before, when he 
was leaving us he said, " I always think now when my visit 
to you comes to an end, that it is my last." . . . Many feel 
with me that his friendship was indeed a blessing for which to 
thank God. There are few friends to be found so true and 
so stimulating, so kind and so strong. May God raise up for 
this Church in England men such as he was. ... He 
was with us about the time that he left Wantage for Worcester. 
I remember his saying that people told him that the work at 
Wantage would go to pieces without him, and that he had 
replied, " Then the sooner the better, for if so, it is Butler and 
not Christ." At his next visit he told us, with delight in his 
face and voice, that at the last Christmas there had been more 
communicants than there ever were in his time. . . . But 
for the help which he obtained for us to save St. Patrick's, our 
school and other organisations would be now, as far as we can 
judge, about half what they are. We indeed owe it to him that 
we are about to build another church nearly as large as St. 
Alban's, with its complete organisation. 

The great point which he was never tired of urging was the 
duty of working the Church system as laid down in the Book of 
Common Prayer. This he was convinced would, if thoroughly 
used, meet all needs in a better and more lasting way than 
the new and exciting methods that are being constantly 

It was thought fitting that the Cathedral to which 
his last years had been devoted should contain a 
memorial of him ; and on St. Mark's day, April 25, 
1896, the Bishop of Ely, in the presence of many 
friends, unveiled the alabaster effigy on an altar 
tomb which had been erected in his memory. The 

376 THE LAST YEARS 1896 

inscription summarises the character which it has 
been the aim of this book to portray. 


In pace Dei requiescat 

Pastor animarum 

Sagax simplex strenuus 

Willelmus Johannes Butler S.T.P. 

Ecclesiae huiusce Cathedralis decanus 

Qui natum se atque renatum 
Non sibi sed Christo ovibusque Christi ratus 

Austera quadam caritate 
Labore indefesso assidua prece 

Id egit 

Domi foris validus segrotans 

Ut amorem Dei erga peccatores testatus 

A peccatis reduces in amore Dei confirmaret. 



I SUPPOSE that different people find comfort and help in 
different manners. To me nothing is more stirring than 
the lives of men who have nobly served our Lord e.g. Bishop 
Gray, or Patteson, or St. Charles Borromeo, or Gratry (La 
Jeunesse du Pere G.), or Montalembert. They help one, I 
think, to long and to try. To St. Paul the thought of our 
Lord "Who loved me, and gave Himself" had an inspiring force. 

Wandering thoughts are a trial to every one. The great 
test of spiritual progress is not, I think, freedom from them, 
but power to resist temptation. If you find that you have 
more power over your tongue more ability to restrain a 
satirical remark or at least more consciousness of its evil, 
and regret for it after giving way ; or again, if you find 
yourself more ready to make sacrifices for others' sake, in one 
word, more unselfish, or, if you are more careful to give the 
right time to prayer, whether or not the thoughts may be 
distracted. All these and such as these are tests. Feelings 
are worth almost nothing. Do you know Newman's sermon 
"On the Use of Excited Feelings"? It is well worth reading. 
I think that it is in Vol. IV. The great help to spiritual pro- 
gress is the gaining a deep sense of God's love, referring all 
to Him, resting on His love. I believe that people become 
good much more by looking out of, than into, themselves. 
"Beholding as in a glass the glory of God, we are changed 
into the same image," etc. We cannot become good by self- 
analysis. That will indeed show us our own sinfulness, but 


it is the bringing the soul under the light of God's counten- 
ance which enables it to slough off evil, and to develop good, 
just as the sun, not the gardener's broom, frees the soil from 
the damp of dew. 

Every one makes progress who means to do so. This is a 
great law. The stone is always rolled away at the proper 
time. But then we must climb the hill. That means effort. 

After all, what is food but medicine, and I cannot see why 
it is more sinful to eat a slice of mutton than to take a dose 
of quinine or of cod-liver oil. Of course I quite accept that 
some sort of fasting is needful. We are bound to obey the 
Church. We are wise to subdue our flesh, and to strengthen 
the will by such mortifications as we can manage without 
injury to health. But there I make my stand. I will never 
give in to the fish and pudding theory versus meat. It seems 
to me both superstitious and dangerous. But there is much 
to be said on this subject, partly limiting, partly explanatory. 

Do not fret about ' deep feelings.' The great thing is simply 
to be desirous to do God's will. Feelings are not under our 
control, at least they are so only in a limited degree. They 
are more physical than spiritual, though people lay so much 
stress on them and imagine because they have susceptible 
nerves, they are in the road to heaven. " In quietness and 
confidence shall be your strength." Hurrell Froude somewhere 
says that he wishes to be a 'hum-drum.' There is a great 
deal in that. He means that he admires those who just go 
on from day to day doing their natural work, and not fidget- 
ing or fussing, simply trusting to God as a merciful and loving 
Father, Who, if He meant to slay us, would not accept " a 
burnt-offering at our hands." 

Lent is an excellent time for a fresh start, and such starts 
and beginnings do really make up our poor earthly life, and 
we must be satisfied. " There is no condemnation for those 
which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but 
after the Spirit." Read all that chapter, Romans viii., very 
carefully. It is a wonderful exposition of the Christian's real 
condition. To walk after the Spirit does not imply perfectness 


of life, but the aiming after it the following such light as 
we possess with such strength as we possess. I believe greatly 
in all that unites the soul in love to God the use of psalms, 
prayer, meditation, short ejaculations and aspirations, the Holy 
Eucharist. These, together with humble confession of sins, 
seem to me such as cannot fail to bring the soul into the 
divine image. This is why it is very important to make our 
prayers a reality. 

God does not mean that His children's lives should be 
one long fret and vexation, though He does mean them to be 
a battle. Yes, a battle, but with the certainty of victory, if 
only the struggle is maintained. The victory is of Him and 
His grace, but our will and effort must co-operate. Or perhaps 
one should rather reverse the sentence, and say that His grace 
co-operates with our effort. When our Lord speaks of peace, 
He means what we call happiness. 

Touching Holy Communion, do you know Sadler's little 
book ? It seems to me to be remarkably good and sens- 
ible, like all that he writes. I always think that the best 
and safest plan is to make preparation part of daily prayers, 
adding, it may be, some special devotion on the days when one 
communicates. This seems to keep the soul in a quiet and 
orderly condition, ready for whatever comes. In former days, 
when Celebrations were few and far between, the week's pre- 
paration or the month's preparation was greatly needed, but with 
our happily frequent Communions, it is best I think to live 
always in a state of preparation. And what is better than this 
for us who know not when the Master cometh? To be pre- 
pared for Holy Communion is to be prepared for seeing Him 
as He is. 

The truth is that what is called the world, is, like the 
kingdom of heaven, something within ourselves. If our hearts 
are worldly, we might be worldly in a Trappist monastery. 
If our hearts are not worldly, then, like Mrs. Godolphin, we may 
be saints in the midst of a profligate court like that of Charles 
II. Of course there is a limit to lawfulness in amusements, 
etc. They may be such as injure the soul, or they may be 
innocent, yet too much sought after and indulged in. In which 
case we ought to draw in the reins pretty tightly. 


There is no patent road to prayer. Nothing but effort 
will attain it, and self-humiliation for failure. Praying is like 
springing from the ground. Do what we will, except in some 
very special cases, the earth draws us downwards. And there- 
fore we can only pray as it were by leaps. But then we 
know that God accepts the will for the deed ; and growth 
is 'how a man knoweth not.' It is certainly not measured 
by feeling, but by the power of resisting temptation. 

I do not know what to say about ' Guardian Angel.' I do 
not use such devotions myself, nor do I think that any good 
comes from it; we know so little. Why not cling to our 
blessed Lord ? Pray Him to give His angels charge. Surely 
that will do. 

There are no patent recipes for getting rid of one's faults. 
French polish looks well, but does not last. Elbow work 
does. So it is with our characters. Dodges and artifices, like 
teetotalism, do not hold on. There is nothing for it but 
watchfulness, effort, and self-humiliation, continually carried 
on through life. 

I do not think that any one can be better off than where 
God places her. He can save by few as well as by many, 
and there is great danger in these days lest people should get 
the habit of resting on means of grace, and imagining that if 
without their own fault they are deprived of them, they cannot 
get on. God gives His grace to all who are obedient. And 
obedience consists in seeking means of grace when they can be 
had, and putting up with the privation of them when it is God's 
will that this should be the case. The meat with which the 
angel fed Elijah lasted for forty days. I am not at all sure that 
many of those who are connected with confraternities, etc., are 
the better for it. There are no better Christians than the old- 
fashioned folk who made it a point to read every day the 
Psalms and Lessons. 

I suppose that this may be rightly said : that no one who 
tries to be good, or who mourns and humbles herself for sin, 
can possibly be cast away. God does not look for victory in 


us, but for effort. When there is effort His Holy Spirit is 
working with us, and none can pluck us out of His hands. 
The best course in most cases is simply to go on working, 
praying, striving, and not speculating; trusting simply and 
implicitly to His mercy and love, by means of which all must 
in the end come right. I own that I dread and dislike 
extremely all theories of purgatory and the like. Be prac- 
tical and let imagination alone. The only use of purgatory 
in the Roman Catholic teaching has been (1) to fill the coffers 
of Leo X.; (2) to bring on the Reformation ; neither of which is 

Do not worry yourself about Church matters. "Pray for 
the peace of Jerusalem," and let all the rest alone. All is 
sure to go well. " The waves of the sea are mighty, and rage, 
but," etc. / think that Mr. Keble's sermons, all and each, are 
as precious as gold filings. 

I never trouble myself about speculative questions. The 
only thing that I care for is to try to be good as far as I 
may myself, and to help others to be the same. Given that 
and all will be well. You know "Justum et tenacem propositi 
virum," etc., or if you do not, get to translate it to you. 

Who can define or limit the power of the grace of God 
in any soul ? This is quite certain, that " to them that knock 
it shall be opened," but it does not follow that they may 
not have to knock for a long while, nor even that they will 
attain in this present life. Our work is simply to continue 
the struggle, to aim at the highest standard which God 
presents to our minds, and to leave it to Him to open the way. 
I think that it is quite wrong not to believe Holy Scripture, 
or to try to tone it down to suit man's feelings and wishes ; and 
when our Lord says, "These shall go away into everlasting 
punishment, but the righteous into life eternal," the word for 
everlasting and eternal being exactly the same in the Greek 
how can I believe anything but that one is correlated with the 
other, the punishment of the wicked with the happiness of the 
good ? Such speculations can do no good, and may do an infinity of 
harm. Let all alone, and look to God to make all things right. 


The prayer for invocation of the Holy Spirit is not essential 
to consecration. What is essential is to use the words and do 
the acts with which our Lord instituted it. This is admitted 
on all sides. No doubt such invocation is reverent and right, 
and it is through the influence of the Holy Spirit that our 
Lord's Body is with the bread and wine, even as the divine 
nature was united with the manhood in the Incarnation. This is 
the opinion of theologians, and it ought to be enough for us. 
Touching the translation of the Bible. Wait a little. Let us 
see what is to come. Of course it cannot be accepted without 
the consent of Convocation, and that consent is not very likely 
to be given. In all these matters the great thing is not to be 
in a hurry to judge or to form conclusions. 

I do not think it necessary to explain the "sun standing 
still." Perhaps it simply means that there was light even 
when the sun went down, that the result was as if it stood 
still. The Bible does not profess to give lessons in astronomy. 
So also the shadow on the dial might have receded, without 
altering the actual movement of the earth. These difficulties 
are the merest nothings when you come to tackle them. They 
remind me of a donkey who when he read that God created 
great whales (Gen. i. 21), suggested that therefore He did not 
create the little ones. I do not say that you are a donkey, 
but that he was. 

I think that it is quite lawful to attend R.C. churches abroad. 
That is the Church of the country. We have never excom- 
municated Rome, and it is quite open to them to communicate 
with us, if the Pope allowed it. It is true that they will not 
receive us to Communion. But what they will permit us to 
advantage ourselves by, i.e. presence at Mass, etc., we are quite 
justified in accepting, so far as I can see. 

Why do you ask such questions as Solomon could scarcely 
have answered to the Queen of Sheba 1 It is far better to leave 
all that sort of thing in God's hand. He knows best, and it is 
quite certain that He will call none away till it is best that they 
should be called away. How can we tell what refining of the soul 
goes on in paradise, or even in eternity ? No one, as I believe, can 


be lost who acts according to his conscience, or when he fails to 
do so, laments and repents. Neither will any be lost who 
commit sin without knowing what sin is. But, as I said, it is 
useless to attempt to dive into mysteries. God gives us all the 
knowledge that is needful for our own edification. That is 
enough for us. 

Your paper is very good as far as it goes, but it is in- 
complete. You omit the most important part of our Lord's 
redeeming work. He came to sanctify as well as to justify, 
and this should never be omitted. The world likes to be told 
that Christ came to die for sinners, and that to believe is to 
be saved. But they do not like the idea of being made good, 
because this costs them trouble. Any statement of our Lord's 
work therefore which omits this plays into the world's hands. 
And again, what is the meaning of 'Justification'? How was it 
brought about 1 ? Not by suffering, but by obedience, Rom. v. 19. 
His obedience involved suffering, but it makes all the difference 
to our idea of God, whether you state that He must have 
obedience, or that He required a sort of vengeance on sinners 
in Christ's sufferings. 

After much anxious consideration and consultation I came to 
the conclusion that it is absolutely impossible, without breaking 
our Lord's distinct ordinance, for certain people not to take some 
slight amount of food before communicating. If you care to see 
a letter from Dr. Pusey on the subject, whose opinion I esteem 

more than Mr. , good and learned though he is, ask - 

to send it to you. We must not attempt, as things are with us, 
to be guided by the rules of either the Primitive or the Roman 
Church. I wish heartily that it were otherwise, and where the 
old rule can be observed with impunity to health I always re- 
commend and enjoin it. 

I am sorry that you have no early Celebration at . It is 

far better to receive early than late. But if you cannot gain this, 
then take what food is absolutely needful to prevent you from 
being unwell, and commit yourself to God's mercy and love, 
owning to Him your weakness, and praying Him to bring about 
in His goodness a more Christian and reverent state of things in 
the parish where you live. 


It seems to me that St. Matthias's history ought to help us and 
give us courage. "The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole 
disposing of it is of the Lord." In other words, all we have to 
do is our best, then quietly to leave the rest to Him, not fretting 
or vexing at misfortune or ill success. He can take care of His 
own work. We must take care that we do our best ; if this be so 
we shall have an equal reward with the most successful. And as 
in the case of St. Matthias, whose election I daresay disappointed 
the friends of Barsabas, that which seems to us disastrous often 
is in truth the very best thing for the cause which we are trying 
to benefit. 

I am inclined to think that knitting, etc., are not good works 
for Sunday. I do not say that there is anything actually sinful 
in knitting on Sunday. But it seems to me that it is very im- 
portant to give Sunday a peculiar character, i.e. the character of 
a day set apart, so far as we can set it apart from other days, for 
enabling the soul to hold special converse with God. It is true 
that, formed as we are, we cannot keep the mind long in close 
relation to heavenly things; but it is greatly helped in doing 
this by external arrangements, such as closing the shops, avoid- 
ance of the ordinary daily occupations, etc. Moreover it is very 
important to do nothing which may be misinterpreted by those 
around us, which may lead them to take liberties with what is 
on the whole an edifying English custom, even though injured and 
made grotesque by Puritanism. 


GRESSES IN 1869, 1877, 1879, 1883, 1888, AND 1893. 1 

AT the Liverpool Church Congress of 1869, Mr. Butler read a 
paper on the " Improvement of the Church's Services : how to 
Increase Attendance at them." 

In this paper he begins by deploring the large numbers in 
towns like Birmingham and Liverpool who are untouched by the 
Church's ministrations; he declines to believe that Disestablish- 
ment (which some good Church people were at that time, it 
would appear, ready to welcome) would make things any better; 
Mr. Butler pointed to the Colonies in support of his contention 
and then he goes on to advocate a greater elasticity in services 
conducted in mission rooms and chapels ; he would have the 
litany as a separate service in the evening, or a metrical litany 
and a sermon, something simple and easy to follow for those (and 
he admits there are many) for whom matins and evensong are too 

But the most remarkable part of this paper is undoubtedly his 
outspoken utterance on behalf of restoring the Holy Eucharist 
to its proper place in the public services. "Why," he asks, 
" have we discarded it from this its due prominence and special 
character, thrusting it into the end of a long morning service of 
prayers, psalms, hymns, sermon, when both the heart and 
head are wearied? We complain of the comparatively small 
number of our attached church-goers : may we not trace it to 
this fact 1 ? Observe I am not advocating that the Holy Com- 
munion should be thrust as it were on all, that all whether fit 
or unfit should be present at that most solemn service ; but that 
all should have the opportunity of taking part in it, according 

1 By Rev. Canon Randolph, Principal of Ely Theological College. 



to the ancient and catholic rule of the Church, at least once 

"From Justin Martyr downwards," he says a little before, "in 
one unbroken tradition, as every one who has the slightest know- 
ledge of ecclesiastical history cannot fail to perceive, all writers 
describe this as the service of the Church, that to which all 
others are mere subsidiary handmaids." 

Among the speakers who followed the reading of the papers 
were the Hon. C. L. Wood (now Lord Halifax) and the Rev. Dr, 
Littledale, both of whom strongly supported Mr. Butler's utter- 
ance about the Holy Communion. 

The paper read at the Church Congress of 1877 was on the 
temperance question. It is very characteristic of the writer, and 
illustrates the line he took throughout his life on this difficult 

After some apology, feeling no doubt that he was in a 
minorit}^ he boldly announces himself opposed to all the three 
great remedies usually proposed by temperance reformers ; he is 
against legislation, against the formation of a Church Temperance 
Society, and against those who preach total abstinence for 
every one. 

He is against legislation, because " sumptuary laws have had 
their day. They belong to that against which the free heart of 
England will ever rebel, which is called a paternal government. 
Let us not forget that while swaddling clothes no doubt keep 
children out of mischief, they also restrain the free growth of the 
limbs. And I venture to contend that there is a certain discip- 
lining of man's nature, which is to be found in resisting 
temptation, and which cannot be obtained when temptation is 
altogether withdrawn." To illustrate this point he contrasts 
(following Montalembert in the Avenir politigue d 'Angleterre} the 
system of espionage at a French Jesuit College, with the freedom 
of an English public school. 

He is against temperance societies, for there must always be 
a danger in isolating one sin in this sort of way. " Why," he 
asks, " are we to inculcate temperance only in drink 1 Does not 
the apostle bid us to be ' temperate in all things ' ? What is 
there special in drunkenness which places it in a category outside 
all other sins 1 Are we prepared to have special associations 
against lying, selfishness, or that sin of the flesh which, if 


drunkenness slays its thousands, may truly be said to slay its 
tens of thousands I mean the sin of unchastity ?" 

So again, "the Church herself is the National Temperance 
Association, and all special temperance societies got up within 
her, tend, I humbly submit, to obscure that! attribute which 
equally with ' One,' ' Catholic,' and ' Apostolic ' is hers, viz., that 
of holiness, her right to exact from her members to be holy, not 
in one thing only, but in all" 

He is against total abstinence, though as a " kill or cure " 
remedy he would allow it in extreme cases, where it is in fact the 
only chance ; but he deprecates " the belief that it is necessary 
or even right that they who would induce others to be sober 
should themselves entirely abstain." 

Constructively Canon Butler considers that higher intelligence 
and education, bringing with them higher taste and refinement, 
will do much for the lower classes, as it has already done much 
for the higher in respect to this temperance question ; the lesson 
will work downwards ; he advocates clubs and reading-rooms, 
"not on too strait-laced principles." "Let lectures be given 
explaining how the conditions of happiness lie in habits of self- 
control. . . . Provide two things which too often are not to be 
obtained, good pure water, and real honest beer, such as our 
brethren in Germany enjoy, making it penal so far only would 
I invoke the aid of legislation to sell the poisonous concoctions 
which more than anything else cause the drunkenness of the 
working-classes ; and lastly, inculcate early in life that the body 
is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and not for fleshly defilement of 
any kind whatever, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body." 

Canon Butler read a paper at the Swansea Church Congress 
in 1879, on the congenial subject of Parish Organisation. On 
a subject such as this he was, it need not be said, thoroughly 
at home. Every word was dictated by recollections of his own 
experience as a parish priest. 

" The longer I live "these are almost the opening words of 
his paper " the more I believe in the rule, ' stare super antiquas 
vias'; and I look on the following out of such a system as 
the Prayer Book suggests, in its unpretentiousness and simplicity, 
as of infinitely more value in the great battle with evil than 
some of the more showy efforts of the present day." 

He passes at once to the great question of the schools, ex- 


pressing his conviction that "well-organised schools lie at the 
very foundation of all good parochial work," and that " no 
cajolement or threat should induce the pastor to suffer his 
schools to pass from the hands of the Church." He asserts 
his conviction that the "battle of the Church is to be fought 
in the schools," that no pains should be spared in making 
them efficient, that the parish priest should himself take a 
lively part in their working, that he should see by actual 
investigation that the Catechism is thoroughly learnt and under- 
stood, that the children's private prayers are said ; that he 
should " draw round himself, and not leave merely to the 
masters' and mistresses' enforced hours of instruction, the 
pupil teachers, and carefully supervise their religious teach- 
ing " ; and that he should establish between himself and 
the head teachers the relation of true and loving friendship, 
"as between those who are engaged in one great common 
work for the glory and praise of God." 

He speaks appreciatingly of Guilds for deepening the spiritual 
life, and warns against the snare of " setting quantity before 
quality " ; and he especially emphasises the importance of com- 
municants' classes, that is, of classes called together and 
regularly prepared for Holy Communion every month : they 
work towards this special end, and for this reason they have 
an advantage, he thinks, over ordinary Bible classes. They 
involve, he admits, "intense and unremitting labour": "they 
must be carefully arranged and adapted with a view to 
difference of age, intelligence, and above all, to those nice 
grades of social position which exist among the people." Such 
classes will, he thinks, nearly cover the ground of many other 
possible organisations. 

There follows in this paper a characteristic warning 
against too much organisation : "a fussy beating up of 
recruits and subscriptions, writing reports and rushing from 
meeting to meeting." He pleads for loyalty to the Prayer 
Book specially in the matter of daily service throughout 
the year. The service, he insists, said daily in the Church 
"organises the organiser," that is, the clergyman himself. 
" It keeps him to his work ; it provides for his flock an 
opportunity of finding him at his post; it spreads over his 
work that character of dutifulness to the directions of the 


Church ; the lack of which lies, as I think, at the root of our 
most pressing difficulties." He insists on the importance of 
regular visiting, and urges that no machinery or organisation 
ought to be allowed to supersede the pastor's "own regular 
and loving visits to his flock." "Of this," he says, "I am 
quite sure that when it may be done, even as Sir Robert 
Peel pressed on his supporters the famous advice of 'Register, 
register, register,' so visit, visit, visit, not by proxy, but in 
person, face to face and heart to heart, should be the parson's 

In speaking of Sunday schools he quoted a letter that had 
reached his hands from an ' earnest and capable master,' which 
so well illustrates a danger well known to parish priests that 
it is worth while to transcribe it here: 

"I fall in with the work in the day school very well, and 
as yet I have had no difficulties to overcome. My great 
grievance, however, is the Sunday school, at which a host of 
ten teachers attend, five of whom are good ladies from the 
village. It is hard to see those who know nothing of teaching 
take the authority out of one's hand, and undo in an hour or 
two a whole week's work. The kind-hearted ladies are inclined 
only to smile at the dear little bairns when they are at all 
refractory, or engage in some paltry little squabble ; and Johnny 
dear is told that his lady teacher will be so very very angry, 
if he persists in getting over the desks, or speaks impertinently 
to his kind instructor. I am deposed from the position of 
head master for the first day of every week." 

Mr. Butler's comment is, that on Sunday "the day school 
should be carried on mutatis mutandis as on week-days, 
under its natural teachers, while the Sunday school, under it- 
voluntary teachers, consisting of children who only attend on 
Sundays, should be held in a separate room, or, better still, 
as so many separate classes in private houses." 

At the Church Congress at Reading in 1883, Canon Butler 
read a paper on Purity. 

The special department of the subject which fell to his lot 
was the prevention of the degradation of women and children. 
The paper is difficult to epitomise : it is full of sympathy and 
tenderness, combined with simple and practical suggestions as 
to how best to help those who need help. 


There is a passage on the general condition of society which 
shows how keenly alive was the writer to the great dangers 
in this direction : 

"In speaking of woman's degradation," he says, "let us not 
shut our eyes to the general condition of society. There is 
other degradation besides that which obtrudes itself in the 
streets. Those who mix much with the world mourn over a 
general laxity of tone which seems to be permitted conversa- 
tion of a loose and suggestive kind ; theatrical performances 
taken from the free and immoral literature of France ; that 
which some years ago would have been scouted, now witnessed 
and enjoyed ; French novels, where evil is freely set forth 
and spoken of as good, read even by young girls growing 
into womanhood ; men whose lives are notoriously profligate 
encouraged, sometimes even by mothers ; the tie of marriage no 
hindrance to dangerous intimacies, sometimes not falling short 
of gross and flagrant sin. If this is not degradation of women, 
it is difficult to say what it is." 

The central portion of the paper is taken up with describing 
the actual state of the law in regard to the protection of 
women ; the writer points out clearly where legislation is 
insufficient, and then goes on to speak of what might be done, 
apart from legislation, in a preventive direction by private 
enterprise. He insists on the much-needed improvement of 
dwelling-houses, and then passes on to speak of the need of 
great caution in regard to mixed schools. A small tract, 
entitled "A Few Words to School Mistresses," published by 
Hatchards, is recommended, for it " may with great advantage 
be placed in the hands of teachers, with reiterated warnings 
not to live in what is called a fool's paradise, but to be 
watchful and even suspicious of every approach to familiarity 
between boys and girls." 

There is a strong plea for the establishment in every neigh- 
bourhood of moderately-sized industrial schools where girls may 
be received for about two years during the critical period 
between leaving school and going out into the regular work 
of life, when, as Mr. Butler so truly says, "employers of the 
better kind decline to hire them, and then they often linger 
on at home, or accept a low and often very dangerous kind 
of situation." 


In these proposed industrial schools the girls may be well 
nurtured and trained, "well instructed in the principles of 
their religion, taught to pray, to respect themselves, to believe 
in and to love God, confirmed and made regular communicants; 
and then, and not till then, sent out to fight the battle of life." 
In what he says here, as always, the writer is speaking from 
the background of his own wide experience, for he adds, " I 
know what can in this way be done, how from such an in- 
stitution there may be sent forth, year after year, a stream of 
high-toned, high-principled girls, capable and trustworthy as 
servants, and, so far as is possible to human nature, raised into 
a condition of thought and feeling in which they recoil with 
horror from all that is unmaidenly or impure." 

Canon Butler expresses his satisfaction that so many callings 
are now opened to women which were formerly closed to them, 
and thinks that the more these openings are multiplied, "the 
more that women are incited to that which encourages and 
demands propriety of demeanour and self-respect, and which 
provides a fair means of living the more will woman be freed 
from the danger which so grievously besets her life." 

In 1888, at the Church Congress held at Manchester, the 
Dean of Lincoln read a paper on the " Desirableness of Reviving 
the Common Religious Life of Men." 

Dr. Butler's paper was unfortunately lost before reaching the 
publishers. There is, however, a brief summary of it given in 
the Report of the Congress, which we reproduce here with 
little or no alteration. 

The writer dealt with the subject as applied to clergymen. 
He described what, as he believed, were the needs of the 
present time in dealing with the large populations of our great 
towns. In London alone were four millions and upwards 
of people, to whom about six hundred clergy ministered, and 
they not distributed in a manner likely to hear the real calls 
for help. Liverpool in like manner had 600,000 souls, with 
seventy clergymen. Other towns also told the same tale, 
showing that the present parochial system was utterly in- 
adequate to meet the demands made upon the clergy. What 
must, he asked, be the inevitable result? The complete chaos 
of society, the falling, as too many symptoms already showed, 
into a condition of materialism and inutility worse than the 


worst days of barbarism. They wanted some means of dealing 
more adequately with the large masses of the population. Was 
it within the bounds of reason and common sense to imagine 
that the great problem could be dealt with on a large scale 
without having recourse to something very different to the 
methods that had hitherto been tried 1 

He suggested that religious houses should be established 
among the clergy for the better prosecution of evangelizing 
work. When he ventured to speak of the desirableness of 
reviving the common religious life of clergymen, it was because 
he was convinced that in no other way could the crying needs 
of the Church be met. Taking the very lowest ground, it 
seemed to him that if the Church was in any way to fulfil 
her great trust of preaching the gospel to every creature, it 
could be effected only by the devotion and self-sacrifice of 
men who would consent to lead a celibate life; to give up, 
either permanently or for. a stated time, much of that which, 
to use a common expression, sweetened life ; to cut them- 
selves off, at least in a great degree, from the engagements 
and expenses of ordinary society, and dwelling together under a 
aommon roof and taking their meals at a common table, would 
be in a position to bring to bear common counsel, common 
action, and common intercession upon darkness, and ignorance, 
and sin. Men thus living together would be spared the 
sense of loneliness and helplessness, which so often weighed 
down the spirits and paralysed the energies of men who from 
poverty or any other cause, found themselves living alone 
with almost no support. 

He would suggest that those who would offer themselves 
for this common life should bind themselves for a period of 
not longer than five years, which might, at will, be renewable ; 
that they should agree honestly to follow the rule which the 
Prayer Book provided, keeping strictly to what was there 
laid down, to the feasts and fasts, the daily service, frequent 
Communion, with any additional services for which they might 
have time and inclination. The dress should not be peculiar 
or demonstrative, and the diet simple and plain, but sufficient. 
Such societies should be directly under episcopal supervision, 
whether as regarded the central or parent house, or the 
districts in which its members laboured. 


The Congress held at Birmingham in 1893 was the last at 
which Dr. Butler appeared. 

The subject assigned to him then was " The Ministry of the 
Laity," and the special department of the subject which fell to 
his lot was that on which he could speak with paramount 
authority, viz., Deaconesses and Sisters. 

The paper is of special interest, not only because it is the last 
which the Dean read, but also because it brings out in a very 
striking and beautiful way his intense appreciation of the 
' religious ' life, and of all that such a life implies. 

He begins by contrasting the favourable and grateful recog- 
nition given to Sisterhoods in the present day, with the way in 
which they would have been regarded before the rise of the 
Oxford movement. Now nearly all the prejudice against such 
institutions has passed away; there are more Sisters more 
women aiming at the Religious life in England now than there 
were before the Reformation, and now not merely in England, but 
throughout the world in India, Africa, and America, English 
Sisters are at work. 

" A Sister's theory of ' vocation ' is that in a very true though 
ineffable and mysterious manner our blessed Lord calls to 
Himself certain souls, who for His sake shall give up all; that 
He infuses into such souls a burning desire to be His, a true love 
even like^ the love of man to woman, or of woman to man, only 
far nobler and more exalted ; that when this exists in any soul 
it finds no rest till it has given itself for the things of God ; that 
this vocation is not to this or that work, possibly not at all 
to what is called work, but solely to be His, just as the true wife, 
without reference to house or household duties, finds in him 
whom she loves all that satisfies her heart. So the Sister is her 
Beloved's, and her Beloved is hers. Willingly for His sake she 
labours ; but her great aim, the object of all her longing, is to be 
altogether His." 

As to vows, Dr. Butler is clear as to their intrinsic reasonable- 
ness and their use. 

" Let me be permitted," he says, " to say something on this 
very delicate and controverted question. I cannot, after much 
consideration, sympathise with the strong objection which some 
excellent people hold in regard to vows. I quite agree that where 
vows are permitted to be taken there should be a discretionary 


dispensing power. But with this, which surely lies within the 
range of episcopal jurisdiction, I cannot see, considering the 
number of vows which are accepted on all hands as right and 
proper baptismal vows, repeated in confirmation ; ordination 
vows, marriage vows, and that which is so strongly urged by 
many, the pledge or vow of abstinence from any form of 
alcohol why those vows are to be looked upon as evil things, 
or at least, as full of danger, whereby men or women of mature 
age offer themselves to God." 

He quotes Jeremy Taylor in support of his contention as to 
the legitimacy of vows. " It hath pleased God in all ages of the 
world to admit of intercourse with His servants in the matter 
of vows." 

He insists, it is unnecessary to say, on the wise safeguard of a 
long and thorough noviciate, during which time every opportunity 
should be given to those who are thinking of the ' religious ' life 
of clearly understanding the difficulties of such a state ; but, after 
all precautions have been taken, he sees no reason why any who 
wish to do so should not by a solemn promise or vow dedicate 
their lives to God. 

Further, he insists that a vow has distinct advantages. Like 
the marriage vow, it settles the question for good and all. It 
quiets that restlessness from which none of us are altogether free. 
It helps the ' religious ' to bear cheerfully difficulties which " are 
sure, sooner or later, to crop up." As in marriage, which the 
religious life closely resembles, the die is cast, and any who have 
cast it find their happiness in accepting what it brings. 

Among the advantages of Sisterhoods on which the Dean insists 
are such as these Continuity of work : they bring with them a 
guarantee for at least such perpetuity as is possible in the changes 
and chances of life. 

The moral weight and power which is ensured by discipline : the Sister 
sets aside her own private likes and dislikes. She goes whither 
she is sent. All that is given her to do is, in her estimation, 
God's work, and therefore equally good. 

The knowledge which results from the experience which a 
Community gains in respect to methods of work. Each Sister is 
trained and taught how to act under various circumstances ; how 
to enter securely the haunts of vice and crime; how to meet 
rudeness ; how to maintain an uniform self-control and gentleness ; 


how to speak a word in season. In Penitentiary work especially 
(which gave the first main impetus to the growth, in these later 
times, of the Religious life in the Church of England) experience 
has proved that the influence of Sisters living under a rule is of 
incalculable value. 

At the conclusion of this very remarkable paper the question 
is discussed how far and under what conditions the Church as a 
whole should accept such institutions as Sisterhoods and Deacon- 
esses, and the main answer which the Dean gives to this question 
is as follows : That it is better to leave such institutions to feel 
their way and to be proved before any direct interference or 
recognition is given them on the part of the Church. For the 
present the wise course is to leave these Communities to the care 
and wisdom of the Bishops, for episcopal supervision is, he thinks, 
essential ; and he does not consider that a Community is formed on 
a solid basis where the Bishop has been ignored, any more than 
Communities are justified in altering at their own wish and 
pleasure the services of the Prayer Book. 

The paper concludes with the following words : " It was once 
said to me by one of another Communion, ' You English are good 
people in your own way ; you have a good-natured disposition, 
and therefore do many good things, and abstain from much that 
is evil ; but you do not accept the idea of grace, or know what it 
can do for you.' Here, then, in these religious Communities we 
have the answer. We may, I think, truly say that they have 
taken away this reproach from Israel. 

"Very earnestly I pray that many living souls may be enabled 
to join them, to partake with them in that life of union with our 
blessed Lord, which brings with it true joy and peace, and to aid 
them in their blessed work of winning souls to Him." 


[In the following Index L and ff. mean following pages, and n. that the 
reference is to thejootnote as well as to the pages indicated.] 

Aldworth, Miss, 47. 
Allies, T. W., 65. 
Amwell, in Herts, 5. 
Anderson, Sir Charles, 334. 
Andrewes, Bishop, 309. 
Armstrong, Rev. John, 132. 
Arnold, Dr., 10, 21, 364. 
Ashington, Miss, 140. 
Augustine's, St., Missionary Col- 
lege, 62. 

Bagot, Bishop, 212. 

Baker, Mrs. Arthur, vi. 

Balaton, Rev. E., 10, 63. 

Barff, Rev. A., 143, 220. 

Barry, Canon, 303. 

Beauchamp, Lord, 304, 314, 374. 

Beauclerk, Mr., 252, 261. 

Belson, Rev. Mr., 248. 

Bennett, Rev. W. J. E., 206, 209, 

Benson, Archbishop, of Canter- 
bury, 172. 

Benson, Father, 181. 

Berens, Archdeacon, 95. 

Besson, Pere, 286. 

Bismarck, Count, 252. 

Blakesley, Rev. J. W., 63. 

Brackenbury, Captain, 245, 251, 

Bradley, Henry, 308. 

Bricknell, Rev. Simcox, 37. 

Bright, Canon, 205 n. 

Bristol Times, 55. 

British- Critic, 212. 

Burgon, Dean, of Chichester, 282. 

Bushnan, Mr., 263 f., 267, 270. 

Butler, Arthur J., son of W. J. 

Butler, 26. 

Emma, wife of W. J. Butler, 
26, 30, 166, 219, 233, 277, 
287, 288, 295, 337, 366 f., 
368, 370 ff. 

Henrietta, wife of J. L. Butler, 
1 ; letters to her son, 14, 18 ; 
death, 310. 

John Laforey, father of W. J. 
Butler, 1 ; failure of his busi- 
ness, 17; letter to his son, 19. 
William John, birth, 1 ; parents, 
1 ; Queen's Scholar, West- 
minster, 3 ; at Trinity Col- 
lege, Cambridge, 4 ff. ; pre- 
pares for Holy Orders, 18 ; 
engagement to Emma Bar- 
nett, 26 ; curacy of Putten- 
ham, 26 ; marriage, 26 ; in- 
cumbent of Wareside, 27 ff. ; 
living of Wantage, 36 ; goes 
to Wantage, 46 ; work under 
Bishop Wilberforce, 51, 53 ; 
life at Wantage, 56 f., 71 ff. ; 
parochial work, 107 ff., 118 
ff. ; elected Bishop of Natal, 
225 ; experiences during the 
Franco-German war, 244-276; 



proctor in convocation, 281 
ff. ; canonry in Worcester, 
293; Dean of Lincoln, 312; 
life at Lincoln, 346 ff. ; ' gold- 
en wedding,' 364 ; death, 372; 
letters : to his father, 38 ; to 
his mother, 15, 309 ; to his 
sister, 15, 97, 98, 309, 334, 
344 ; to his wife, 36, 46, 47, 
99, 194-204, 246-276 ; on the 
Gorharn judgement, 80 ff. ; 
see also Keble, Liddon, 
Manning, Wilberforce. 
Butterfield, W., 35, 57, 59, 65. 

Canning, Rev. William, Canon of 

Windsor, 26, 36, 39. 
Carter, Canon T. T., 78, 87, 94 ff., 

174, 183, 188, 212. 
Catechism, Church, on the teach- 
ing of, 49 f., 87 f., Appendix 


Chamberlain, 63. 
Chambers, Rev. J. C., 188. 
Charlton, hamlet, 56 f., 67, 100. 
Church congresses, papers read 

at, Appendix II. 
Church, Dean, 178. 
Church Times, 311. 
Churton, Archdeacon Ed., 188. 
Clerke, Archdeacon, 91. 
Clutterbuck, Rev. J. C., 283. 
Coddington, Rev. H., sometime 

Vicar of Ware, 27. 
Coles, Rev. V. S. S., reminiscences 

by, 174-222. 

Colenso, Bishop, 195, 223 ff. 
Coleridge, J. D., 63. 
Coleridge, Sir J. T., 21, 68, 286. 
Communion, Holy, 207 ; passim, 

357, Appendix II., 385. 
Community of St. Mary, 152ff., 

156 n., 166 f., 180 ff. 
Compton, Lady Alwyne, 295, 301 f. 
Confession, practice of, 65, 67 ; 

Declaration on, 184 ff. 
Cotton, Rev. G. E. L. (Bishop of 

Calcutta), 5, 16. 

Cotton, Dr., 37. 
Courtenay, Rev. C. L., 21."). 
Cox, Rev. F. H.,225. 
Crawley of Littlemore, 63. 
Cyprian, St., 195. 

Davidson, Rev. R. T. (Bishop of 

Winchester), 210, 213, 215. 
Day, Harriet (Superior of St. 

Mary's Home), 85, 130, 138, 


Dealtry, Dr., 25. 

Denison, Archdeacon, 88, 174, 188. 
Diocesan societies, 52. 
Dixon, W., 143, 220. 
Donaldson, J. W., 7. 
Drew, G. H., vi., 16. 
Duport, Rev. J., 113. 
Dyson, Rev. Charles, Rector of 
Dogmersfield, 21, 22, 38, 49, 
236 f., 286, 364. 

Mrs., letters from, 31, 44. 

Miss, 286. 

Ecce Homo, 289. 
Ecclesiastical Polity, 193. 
Education, elementary, 53. 
Elton, Rev. Edw., 281, 284. 

Faber, Rev. F. W., 10. 

Fairer, M. T., 4. 

Forbes, A. P. (Bishop of Brechin), 


Fouque, 287, 367. 
Fowler, Canon, recollections of, 

328 ff., 360. 
Frank, Dr., 262. 
Freeling, Rev. G. N., 205, 282, 

Freeman, Archdeacon Philip, 4, 

10, 67, 189, 219, 228, 237. 
Freeman, Rev. Stephen, 2. 
French, Rev. T. V., 113 (Bishop 

of Lahore). 
Froude, J. A., 10. 
Froude, Hurrell, 378. 
Furse, Rev. C. W., 190 n. 
Fust, Sir H. Jenner, 76. 



Galton, Rev. J. L., 188. 

Gerontius, 289 f. 

Gilbert, Sister Charlotte, 130, 137, 

Gilbertson, Rev. Lewis, 188. 

Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E. G., 97, 
106, 151 n., 292, 355. 

Goodman, Miss, 264. 

Gordon, General, 220. 

Gordon, Rev. Robert, 188. 

Gorhani judgement, 73, 75 ff., 
80 ff., 95, 208 f., 242. 

Grafton, Father, 188. 

Gratry, Pere, 377. 

Gray, Robert (Bishop of Cape- 
town), 113, 223 ff., 227, 232 n., 

Grey, Rev. Hon. Francis, 188. 

Hamon. M., Cure" de S. Sulpice, 

195, 199. 

Harperath, Herr, 246, 250. 
Harvey, Rev. R., 90. 
Hazen, General, 252. 
Heath, J. M., 63. 
Hedger, Sister Catherine, 140. 
Higgens, Rev. R. , recollections of, 

Hills, Rev. G. (Bishop of British 

Columbia), 113. 
Hobart, Hon. H. L., Dean of 

Windsor, 36. 

Hodgson, K. D., M.P., 362. 
Hodson, Rev. G. H., 4. 
Hogan, M., 195. 
Holloway, Rev. E. J., 357. 
Home, St. Mary's, 143 ff., 156 n., 

Home, St. Mary's, branches of, 

156 n. 

Hooker, method of, 193. 
Hospitium, at Cambridge, 43 f. 
Houblon, Rev. T. Archer-, 59, 143. 
Houblon, Rev. T. H. Archer-, 220, 


Hozier, Captain, 274. 
Humphry, W. G., Vicar of St. 

Martin's-in-the-Fields, 7, 65. 

Joan of Arc, 202, 345. 
John, Lord (Russell), 58. 
Johnston & Co., failure of, 17 ff. 
Jones, Rev. W. W. (Bishop of 
Capetown), 282. 

Keble, Rev. John, 21, 25, 26 n., 31, 
32 f., 35, 40 ff., 48 f., 63, 67 f., 
70, 74, 76 ff., 87, 150 f., 82, 127, 
137, 140, 154, 170, 208, 234 f., 
n., 236 ff., 286, 307, 339, 341, 
353, 364, 381. 

Keble, Rev. Thomas, 26 n., 188, 

Keble, Mrs. John, 32, 41, 65, 234 ff. 

Kennedy, George, 4, 16. 

King, Rev. E. (Bishop of Lincoln), 

Knox-Little, Canon W. J., 303. 

Laity, ministry of, 393. 

Lawrence, E. J., 4, 16. 

Lefroy, Rev. A., curate at Dog- 
mersfield, 22. 

Leighton, Dr., Warden of All 
Souls, 281. 

Liddell, Rev. Hon. Robert, 1S8. 

Liddon, Canon H. P., vii., 54, 90, 
100, 101, 104 ff., 175 n., 188, 
204, 209 f., 212, 223, 227, 230, 
232, 235, 239 ff., 243 f., 277, 
280, 283 f., 290 ff., 297, 306 f. 

Literary Churchman, 107, 116, 

Littlemore, 35, 41, 43, 146. 

Lloyd, Canon Charles, 282. 

Lock, Rev. Walter, 234. 

Lockhart, Elizabeth Crawford, 
Mother Superior at Wantage, 
73, 86, 128 ff., 133, 134, 208. 

Loftus, Lord Augustus, 245, 248. 

Longley, Archbishop, 183, 225, 230. 

Lothair, 301. 

Loyd-Lindsay, Col. R. (Lord 
Wantage), 122 f. 

Luard, Rev. H. R., 106, 189. 

Lyra Innocentium, 238. 

Lyttelton, Lord, 9. 



MacCormac, Dr., 262. 
Mackarness, Rev. J. F. (Bishop 

of Oxford), 212, 281, 282, 

Mackonochie, Rev. A. H., of St. 

Alban's, Holborn, 90 n., 100, 

188, 205 f., 297. 
Macrorie, Rev. W. K. (Bishop of 

Maritzburg), 114. 
Maddison, Rev. A. R., recollec- 
tions of, 318 ff. 
Magazine for the Young, 287. 
Manning, Archdeacon (Cardinal), 

vii, 25, 66, 69, 73, 95, 100, 130, 

132, 134, 137, 208. 
Marriott, Rev. Charles, 25, 43, 

48, 63, 154, 170. 
Martagnac, Mons. de, 254, 260. 
Mason, Mrs., 257. 
Mathison, Rev. W. C., 4. 
Mayow, Rev. M. W., 188. 
Medd, Rev. P., 243. 
Meditations for Every Day, 45. 
Melville, Canon, 303. 
Michael's, St., Schools, 156 n., 


Milman, Rev. R. (Bishop of Cal- 
cutta), 92, 95, 143, 290. 
Milmau, Miss, 232, 281. 
Modeste, Pere, 202. 
Montalembert, 377, 386. 
Montgomery, Dean (Edinburgh), 


Mozley, Rev. J. B., 63, 65. 
Murray, Rev. F. H., Rector of 

Chislehurst, 188. 

Natal, see Colenso. 
Nelson, Rev. Dr., 89. 
Newbolt, Canon W. E., 220. 
Newman, J. H. (Cardinal), 127, 

238, 286, 367, 377. 
Noel, Rev. Montague, 175 n., 

176 n., 220. 

O'Neill, Rev. S. W., 175 f., 297. 
Osborne, Miss, 157. 
Overstone, Lord, 235. 

Oxford, organization of the dio- 
cese, see Wilberforce, 51. 
Bishop, see Wilberforce. 
"Tracts," 154. 

Page, Cyril, 65. 

Palmer, William, 31. 

Panel, M., Cure of St. Ouen, 336, 


Paradisus Animtr, 360. 
"Parish Journal" (of Wantage), 

72, 84, 89, 106, 115, 124 f, 130, 

142, 146, 222 n., 235 n., 298. 
Parish organization, 387 ff. 
Parizet, M. 1'Abbe, 200. 
Patrick, Henrietta, 1 ; see Butler. 
Patrick, Robert, 1, 26. 
Patterson, Rev. J. C., 63, 65. 
Pearson, Miss, 254, 256 f. 
Penitentiary Church work, 132 ff. 
Phillpotts, Bishop, of Exeter, 83. 
Pittar, 201. 

Ply, M. 1'Abbe, 199, 201. 
Pollen, J. H., 63, 65. 
Pollock, Rev. James, 220. 

Rev. T. B., of St. Alban's, Bir- 
mingham, 220 ; recollections, 
373 ff. 

Popham, Rev. J., 90. 
Porter, Reginald, 91, 220, 255, 257. 
Pott, Rev. Alfred, Archdeacon of 

Berks, recollections, 50 ff. 
Powis, Lord, 63. 
Puller, C., M.P., 63, 65. 
Purdue, Rev. G., 90. 
Pusey, Dr. E. B., 35, 48, 82, 127, 

154, 170, 188, 191, 223, 228, 243, 

339, 353, 367, 371, 374, 383. 
Pnsey, Philip, 80, 140. 

Raikes, H. C., M.P., 336. 
Randall, Archdeacon, 91. 
Randall, Rev. R. W., Dean of 

Chichester, 188. 

Randolph, Dean, of Hereford, 65. 
Recit d'une Sceur, 169 n. 
"Retreats," 33 f., 35, 155, 167 f., 

201, -'1. 



Riddell, Rev. James, 102 f., 105, 

190 n. 

Riddell, Hutton-, E. M., vii., 363. 
Ridsdale case, 209. 
Rodger, Dr., 274. 
Rose, Rev. Hugh James, 154. 

Sacquet, Captain, 273, 275, 276 n. 
Sadler, Prebendary, 379. 
Sawyer, Rev. W. G., 90, 92 ff., 

143, 281, 284, 293, 312. 
Sedgwick, Professor, 4. 
Sellon, Miss, 128, 237. 
Selwyn, Bishop, 113. 
Sermonsfor Working Men, 167, 237. 
Services, the Church's, Appendix 


Seymour, Rev. R., 292. 
Shadwell, Alfred, 16. 
Shairp, J. C., Principal, of St. 

Andrews, 180 n. 
Sharp, Rev. John, Vicar of Hor- 

bury, 188. 

Shuttleworth, Sir J. K., 63. 
Sintram, see Fouque. 
Sisterhood, see Wantage. 
Clewer, 140. 
Dr. Pusey's, 127. 
School, 147 f. 
Sisterhoods, see Appendix II., 

393 ff. 

Skinner, Rev. James, 188. 
Smyth, Professor, 4. 
'Spiritual Letters,' Appendix I. 
Stanley, Dean, 21. 
Stanhope, Banks, 362. 
Stanhope, Right Hon. Edward, 


Stratford de Redclyffe, Lord, 26. 
Street, G. E., 62, 84. 
Stroud, Mrs., 91. 
Stuart, 228. 

Stubbs, Professor (Bishop of Ox- 
ford), 243. 
Swansea, Lord, 362. 

Tait, Bishop, 232. 
Taylor, Canon Isaac, 308. 

Temple, Rt. Rev. F., Archbishop, 

242 n. 

Tennant, Mrs., 133. 
Thompson, Dr., Master of Trinity, 

63, 251. 

Thomson, Archbishop, 232. 
Tracts for the Times, 287. 
Trench, Rev. R. C. (Archbishop 

of Dublin), 63, 65, 308. 
Trinder, Rev. D., 92, 142. 
Tween, Mr. Walter, recollections 

of, 29. 

Vaughan, Rev. C. J. (Dean of 
Llandaff), 4, 5, 6, 9, 26, 63. 

Venables, Rev. A. R. P. (Bishop 
of Nassau), 241 n. 

Vincent, Rev. T., 48, 49, 63, 135. 

Waddington, |M. , French Ambas- 
sador, 332. 

Wantage, characteristics of, 26. 
the living, 36. 
historical associations, 36. 
'Black Wantage,' 54, 55. 
described in the Bristol Times, 

55 f. 

an ordination at, 61. 
restoration of the church, 84 f. , 


Sisterhood, 73, 127-173, 320. 
Wantage, Lord(seeLoyd-Lindsay)- 
Wareside, "recollections" of old 

parishioners, 29. 
account of the parishioners, 

Weaver, Rev. J. C., Curate ut 

Wantage, 277. 
Webb, Rev. B., 4, 63. 
W T elby, Canon, 362. 
Wesley, John, 340. 
Westminster School, 3. 
White, Rev. G. C., 188. 
Wilberforce, Henry, 25, 63, 65, 

130, 136 n., 138 f. 
Samuel, Bishop of Oxford, 50, 
51, 54, 57, 58, 60, 61, 63, 86, 
94, 288, 355. 


Wilkins, Mrs. Caroline, vii.,279 
294, 302, 307, 310, 341 ff. 

Williams, George, Vicar of Ring- 
wood, 188. 

Williams, Isaac, 33, 34, 63. 

Wilson, Rev. A., 358. 

Wilson, Rev. R. F., 188. 

Wood, Hon. C. L. (Lord Halifax) 
254, 257, 260, 386. 


Woodward, Rev. H. H., vi, 217. 
Woodyer, H., 62, 101, 112. 
Wordsworth, Rev. C. (Biahop of 
Lincoln), 113, 143. 

Yonge, Miss, 239, 285, 338, 341. 
recollections of Wantage 286 


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